Our Work Continues

Tuesday’s election results sparked a wide range of responses across the nation and the world. Here at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, our commitment to using information to advance women is stronger than ever. This election season, with its turmoil, contentiousness, and disappointments, surfaced and amplified issues that require a hard look at how policies affect people who differ by gender, race, age, and experiences.

The election season powerfully raised the issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment, implicit and explicit bias, women’s leadership, and inequality in ways that our research can and will continue to build upon.

Over its nearly 30 years, IWPR has brought timely, unassailable research to bear on the great policy challenges that face our country, including access to paid family leave, child care, equal pay, and freedom from violence, across administrations and policy cycles and in states and localities throughout the nation. After Tuesday’s election, for example, residents of two more states, Washington and Arizona, will have access to paid sick days, and IWPR is proud of how its data has played a role in these advances.

IWPR takes heart that over the coming months and years, we will have the honor and opportunity to work alongside policymakers and activists to ensure that well-informed policy solutions are put forward, championed, and implemented.

Facts and reliable data seemed hard to come by during this election cycle, and false statements were difficult to quickly correct. IWPR’s founding mission is to ensure that policies are not based on misleading information or outdated assumptions. Today, we roll up our sleeves, still believing that knowledge is power, a renewable energy that cannot be exhausted or extinguished. We will look for ways to harness that power, together, as we bring our research to bear on the challenges that continue to face us.

We would love to hear from you about research needs and partnership opportunities going forward.

In community,



Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., President


The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences. Find out more about IWPR at iwpr.org.

Follow IWPR on Twitter @IWPResearch and Facebook.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of October 31, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.

November 3, 2016

KENS5 San Antonio: New job training program opens on east side

Kendra Franklin and Tamika Young are women on a mission. They say they will finish their training to become Certified Nursing Assistants and then keep right on learning. Franklin said she would like to become a doctor. Young said she wants to inspire her children to pursue higher education and great careers.

They are both involved in a training program sponsored by Alamo Colleges.

[…]It’s called the Eastside Education & Training Center and it has brought new life to an old school building.

The program is located in what used to be Pfeiffer Elementary, an SAISD school.

After a $1.5 million grant-funded upgrade, the new center is expected to welcome its first class of students on November 14.

Students who qualify will receive free tuition, books, supplies, childcare, and transportation assistance

November 2, 2016

Santee Patch: Inmates to Plant Trees in Lakeside Under Job Training Program

A job training program at the East Mesa Detention and Re-Entry Facility is taking root at San Diego County parks. Trees and plants that were cultivated and grown at the jail’s greenhouse will be planted at five parks across the county this month, including the morning of Nov. 3 at El Monte County Park.

The program started in July 2014 to help inmates develop skills and work habits needed to secure honest employment after their release. Gardening can be therapeutic and gives inmates a sense of purpose while serving time behind bars. The work they do for County Parks also helps inmates build healthier connections with the community.

October 31, 2016

The Journal: Learning Center focuses on medical, industrial trades

The Unlimited Learning Center in Cortez has revamped its adult education program to focus on the industrial trades in addition to its career training in the medical fields.

“We offer specific pathways to careers that pay well so people have a better chance of getting a sustainable job in the area,” said director Anne Miller. “We’re open to anyone in the community — people who have been laid off, want to find a new job or go back to school.”

[…] Miller said the Center recognizes there is an education gap for many adults which prevents them from succeeding in the difficult course work and testing required to become certified in medical and industrial trades.

Basic math, English, and science courses for GED and college entrance exams are free. Pell grants are available for college courses. The Learning Center also offers free childcare.

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Reno retail center gets facelift with the help of Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center students

The retail center just south of the Plumb Lane and South Virginia Street intersection is in the process of getting an upgrade…While the remodeling of retail centers throughout the region has started to become a trend for owners to attract and retain tenants, this particular project has a unique aspect to it.

Coldwell Banker Commercial partnered with Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center to give nearly a dozen students the opportunity to get hands-on construction experience while also paying the students for their work. The students worked under the supervision of Coldwell Banker Commercial’s in-house General Contractor, GPS Property Maintenance & Construction LLC.

The program is for people “who want to get ahead in life,” Mark Huntley, business and community liaison for Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center, said.

They offer 15 trades including culinary arts, electrical, office administration, hotel and lodging, automotive, medical administrative assistant and more. It is a two-year program that also provides students free housing, food and medical care.


Access to Better Jobs: Workforce Development Projects aim to Lift Up Working Women

For nearly 30 years, IWPR has analyzed and charted women’s experiences in the workforce and recently launched two projects aimed at examining strategies to continue to encourage, recruit, and retain women in jobs that provide family-sustaining wages. One project, Pathways to Equity, focuses on improving women’s access to good middle-skill jobs in three sector of the economy, while Job Training Success, examines how socioeconomic supports, such as child care and transportation subsidies, can lead to success in job training programs, particularly for women participants.

In Narrowing the Wage Gap by Improving Women’s Access to Good Middle-Skill Jobs, funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation’s New Skills at Work initiative, IWPR examined 473 occupations looking for opportunities to advance women into higher paying male-dominated, middle-skill jobs. Middle-skill jobs—occupations that require more than a high school education, but not a college degree—often pay a living wage and can act as a stepping stone to a higher paying career.

Manufacturing, IT, and Transportation jobs are projected to grow in the next decade, but employers report they are finding it difficult to fill these middle-skill positions. While women make up only 7 percent of workers in the manufacturing field, 533,000 good middle-skill jobs will become available over the next decade. These numbers are similar in both IT (women 29%, 240,000 available jobs) and transportation (women 9%, 1.3 million available jobs). If just 10 percent of women moved into similar but higher paying middle-skill jobs, often the sectors they are already working, their median incomes would increase by more than 50 percent.


The lack of women in these higher paying male-dominated occupations is due, in part, to conventional belief about gender roles and superficial differences in the skills necessary to succeed in certain jobs. For example, a Library Assistant could embark on the traditional path of attaining a college and master’s degree through a six year program to become a Librarian. Or, a Library Assistant can choose to become an IT Support Specialist, which requires less than half the years of education and would provide earnings that are about the same as a Librarian. IWPR’s report offers steps employers can take to reduce industry shortages of skilled labor and close the gap between women and men in good middle-skill jobs. For example, employers can provide more training and mentoring, flexible workplace policies, and provide a safe and welcoming work environment for women.

In addition to the report, IWPR launched a website, womenandgoodjobs.org, which helps users identify pools of skilled women workers who could be tapped to fill shortages, ensuring that the economy benefits from the talent of its whole workforce. The website offers an interactive database to explore ‘on-ramp’ occupations—those occupations dominated by women with many similar traits and duties as higher-paying jobs dominated by men—and associated target occupations with higher earnings. Read the Initiative’s research findings and explore the site at womenandgoodjobs.org.

While women are over half of the total middle-skill workforce, they make up only a third of middle-skill workers who make at least $35,000 per year.

In February 2016, IWPR launched its Job Training Success Project with the release of the report, Supportive Services in Job Training and Education, funded by the Walmart Foundation. The report presents a summary of research findings on the importance, effectiveness, and availability of support services for job training program participants in the United States. The report also provides recommendations on funding sources available to combat the common barriers to employment and training, such as lack of access to child care, transportation, and stable housing.

Job training programs offer individuals access to opportunities that prepare them for good jobs with family-sustaining wages. Challenges that hinder completion of these programs point to the need for better access to supportive services; however, few studies have researched the need or impact of these services on job training outcomes. The examination of which supportive services are available to job training participants and the evidence of these services leading to better outcomes are detailed in this 60 page in-depth report, which can be found on www.iwpr.org.

Previous research shows that 69 percent of low-income parents in education and training programs have children younger than six years old. Although 36 percent of organizations provided financial literacy or counseling and 48 percent provided transportation assistance, only 6 percent provided child care assistance.

More than three in ten women receiving job training through a WIA-funded program in 2013 did not complete the program, most likely due to low percentage (18%) who received support services.

Available funding for support services is decreasing every year. Integrated case management helps provide participants support and guidance as they navigate the various systems provide support services. Strengthening partnerships between organizations can maximize resources to provide the support services needed for individuals to complete their programs. An effective job training system that provides women with the necessary support to improve their options in the labor market is critical, and while this research takes a first step toward closing the information gap, further research is needed.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of October 24, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.

October 28, 2016

North Kentucky Tribune: Brighton Center 50 Years, 50 Stories; CET student learns she is ‘good enough,’ can be a contributor

As part of its 50th Anniversary Celebration this year, Brighton Center has introduced a “50 Years, 50 Stories” series to highlight some of the customers, volunteers, donors, community partners or supporters who are part of its history.

“I have always had hopes and dreams, but I never believed so many would become a reality” Samantha

I was working a temp job that I hated because it was far too physically strenuous for my body to handle, and a co-worker took the time to notice my pain and asked me why I didn’t get an office job. I replied that I didn’t have the skills, and she told me about CET.

[…]The Conflict Management workshop really impressed upon me the wisdom to say, ‘It’s not you versus me, it’s us versus the problem;’ a perspective which has become common in my household during disagreements

October 27, 2016

Community Idea Stations: Recovery, Job Training and a Network of Support at the Healing Place

Between 65 and 70% of clients who complete the recovery program are still sober one year later, according to staff. Even with a successful recovery model, Healing Place alumni faced another challenge – getting a job, says Development Officer Clara Stokes.

Clara Stokes: Our clients were getting out there, had a year of sobriety under their belt, decided to go get a job which they have to have to sustain themselves and doors were being slammed in their face. They didn’t know how to talk about gaps in in employment so they would self-sabotage and end up back in the Sobering up Center.

After searching the country for effective models, the Healing Place started “Works” specifically designed for people facing barriers to employment. They offer skills assessment, resume building, computer classes and mock interviews. There’s sessions on budgeting and building credit. And, they work on establishing a strong character through communication and conflict resolution.


Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of October 17, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.

October 18, 2016

LA Daily News: City Council Members Propose Pairing Housing, Job Training for Homeless

Two City Council members Tuesday proposed a pilot program intended to give homeless individuals a better and more permanent path off the streets by matching them up with both job training and housing subsidies.

[…] Each participant would get temporary vouchers to pay for housing at the same time they are receiving training and paid work experience, which is meant to prepare them for a more permanent job.

The council members say their proposal is based on the idea that it might be more effective to provide housing and job assistance together, rather than separately. Those who receive the usual six months of housing assistance may find themselves back on the streets if they cannot secure a stable source of income, while someone who does not have a stable place to stay may find it difficult to maintain a steady job, according to their motion.

October 17, 2016

McDowell News: Manufacturing class seeks new funding

Christal Padgett is one of those in McDowell whose life has been changed because of a class. A single mother of three children, Padgett worked at a scrap metal yard until she fell and broke her foot. She told The McDowell News she wasn’t able to work and couldn’t return to her old job because of this injury. As she was filing for unemployment, Padgett learned about a manufacturing certification class offered through McDowell Technical Community College.

[…] For two years, McDowell Tech has offered this class in manufacturing certification, which is based out of the N.C. Works Career Center on Baldwin Avenue. Those who successfully complete this six-week class are able to make connections with local manufacturers and earn safety certification with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They can also earn certification in first-aid/CPR, career readiness and Microsoft Digital literacy and gaining an introduction to advanced manufacturing skills. Plant tours, job interviews, on-the-job training and apprenticeships are also available through this class. The class focuses on helping participants boost their attitude, initiative and attendance, said participants.

Westword: Heritage Food Incubator Comal Opens at TAXI

Comal’s mission goes far beyond providing Denver with home-style Mexican eats; the restaurant is part of a community-outreach project from nonprofit organization Focus Points, aimed at giving residents of the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods the job training they need to move forward with their careers. “Focus Points’ mission is to build communities by strengthening families,” says executive director Steven Moss, and to that end, the organization supports education initiatives, pre-schools, GED programs and economic development opportunities, with the goal of helping people in Denver’s low-income communities find stable jobs with good incomes.

[…] “This is a group of entrepreneurs with a passion for cooking. Focus Points asked: ‘How do we take this to the next level?’ In order to move to the next level, these women needed a kitchen.” says Focus Points’ director of economic and workforce development, Slavica Park.

The organization partnered with Zeppelin Development to secure that kitchen, taking over the old Fuel space. A cohort of community members will spend eight months there learning the nuts and bolts of how to operate a restaurant, with the goal of eventually opening their own restaurants or catering companies, or securing work in higher-end commercial kitchens.

October 15, 2016

New Haven Register: New Haven’s EMERGE serves ex-offender community with jobs, hope

As executive director for EMERGE, Jusino oversees a comprehensive program that, in addition to providing job training for construction, landscaping and property management positions, assists male and female ex-offenders with other services such as high school-level classes, group discussion sessions, parenting groups and job-training services. His program is the only one of its kind in the state.

[…] “All they believe they need is a job,” Jusino said. “Our goal is to kind of play on that. That they need a job to get them to do things they historically have not wanted to do…They don’t want to do literacy, they don’t want to get mental health (assistance), they don’t want to do occupational skills training, they don’t want to begin to explore the process of how they make decisions,” Jusino said.

So in order to get some individuals to buy in to the program, Jusino said they essentially strike a deal with prospective members: They leverage their ability to place them on payroll to participate in the additional services.

The entire process starts with an orientation that usually weeds out a majority of those in attendance. EMERGE is selective, relying on an interviewing process. EMERGE then pays individuals $10.10 an hour to work up to 24 hours a week. They are paid for 24 hours, but must make a 40-hour commitment. The remaining time must be used to attend classes and participate in additional services.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of October 10, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.

October 10, 2016

Fox59: Second Helpings offers free culinary job training to central Indiana residents

Unemployed or underemployed adults in central Indiana can receive free culinary job training through Second Helpings. Second helpings is an organization that rescues prepared and perishable food, prepares it into nutritious meals, and distributes those meals to 80 social services organizations that feed hungry people.

October 6, 2016

US Department of Labor: A New Start in New Haven

Last month, I [Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez] had the privilege of seeing Labor Department investments in action at the New Haven Correctional Center in Connecticut. They have taken advantage of a program called Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release, or LEAP, which enables people who are paying their debts to society to get job skills before they are released, as well as help with housing and transportation.

[…]During my stop in Connecticut, I met a young man named Liam who is nearing the end of a 20-month sentence. Liam passed me a note during the discussion to tell me what the program has meant to him:

Dear Secretary of Labor,

My name is Liam [last name withheld for privacy reasons]. I wish to tell you what the Job Alliance means to me, this is the best by far program I have ever been involved in, [they’re] giving me a chance at a new beginning, teaching me that it’s never [too] late to learn. [They’re] helping me with job placement, housing, and most importantly, my self-esteem, to know that I can still be a productive member of society, I thought I was done, I didn’t think I would be able to turn myself around, I didn’t think anybody cared. I’m excited about the future, I plan on taking full advantage of this program. So in closing thank you for this opportunity, it has changed my life for the better.

Liam [last name withheld]

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of October 3, 2016

Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Gladys McLean

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.

October 6, 2016

IT Business Edge: Tech Apprenticeship Program in Washington State to Expand Nationwide

The program specifically targets underrepresented groups — women, minorities and veterans. Carlson explained the approach to make that happen: What we did here [in Washington State], as a pilot, was we partnered in the marketplace with community organizations, community colleges, groups that focus their services around those three target populations. We did a soft rollout — we didn’t roll it out to the public and do a mass announcement until just a couple of weeks ago. We actually gave it exclusively to those community partners a month earlier, so that we were filling the pipeline upfront with the people that we absolutely knew are the ones we wanted to place into these occupations.

So whether that was Goodwill, Urban League, Tacoma Community House — all these local groups, and then several community colleges that had curricula that would match up well with what we were looking for — those are the groups that were filling the pipeline, along with several of the work force development councils in the area.

October 5, 2016

The Cap Times: Locked out: African-Americans and advocates see racial bias in the Dane County job market

Hurdles to employment like no access to transportation, lack of affordable child care, inadequate training and criminal history are far more likely to keep African-Americans from landing a decent job than whites. In addition, advocates and black job seekers say, blacks face both conscious and unconscious bias in the hiring process. And all those factors could help explain why a Labor Day report estimated that Wisconsin blacks are three times as likely as their white counterparts to be unemployed.

[…] Ed Lee, who oversees the Urban League’s jobs programs, said that once participants get their foot in the door, they potentially have the opportunity for a career. The Urban League also helps with issues like child care, transportation and criminal backgrounds. Currently located on the city’s south side, the organization, with backing from the city of Madison, plans to open a west-side location by 2018.

October 4, 2016

YES! Magazine: Where Black Unemployment Is Highest, Workers Strive to Close the Gap

The D.C. Black Workers Center, established two years ago [is a] place that helps to build economic empowerment for African Americans in the city. Located in the United Black Fund building, which houses Black nonprofits, the D.C. Center takes a unique approach to its job-training services by addressing the twofold crises of high unemployment among Black workers and the low wages they’re paid when they do find work. It is one of eight African American worker centers nationwide.

[…] They also teach members cooperative organizing. Last year, members received training in workplace democracies, in which they learned how to recruit other workers and create their own cooperatives. Lawyers explained the legal steps of developing a cooperative, and some members shared their observations from a visit to a child care cooperative in West Philadelphia. The visit has inspired some women at the D.C. Center to start a child care co-op.

October 2, 2016

The Journal Times: County Unveils Coffee Shop Giving Residents Job Training

The store will provide training and employment to help young adults develop job skills and experience, according to a news release. Many of the employees are in a workforce development program.

[…]“This is meant to be a short-term experience, not a permanent position, but it’s to build those critical customer service, critical soft skills, so they can transition to a private-sector employment opportunity,” said Mark Mundl, Workforce Solutions manager.

“Anyone that does not have a good work history or no work history, this is that first step to get them along that pathway to be able to be self-sufficient,” Mundl said.