Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of March 14, 2016

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

By Rachel Linn

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. 


March 16, 2016

The Buffalo News: Another Voice: Workforce development system must work for all (by Jeffrey M. Conrad is New York State director of the Center for Employment Opportunities)

A Partnership for the Public Good publication, “Working Toward Equity,” went further and pointed out that local unemployment rates are higher and earnings are lower for African-Americans and Hispanics even during this improved economic period. Additionally, many residents who are working poor or frequently unemployed face multiple barriers to employment, such as low educational levels, language barriers, criminal backgrounds, disabilities and limited means of transportation.

Given that Buffalo’s unemployment is down and our economy is much stronger today, this is the ideal time to focus our efforts on these populations that need additional services. If we want to have an inclusive economy, then we need to expand funding for programming that works to help connect people with employment barriers to the workforce.

March 16, 2016

Park Rapids Enterprise: Editorial: Job fair offers great opportunity to find work

Barriers do exist for those struggling to make ends meet, many depending on state and county services.

A good number of folks in the community deal with social issues that make it difficult to find and hold down a job. Lack of permanent housing, transportation difficulties, childcare challenges, chemical dependency, mental health issues, or just plain lack of motivation. At the same time there are also many who face these same issues and overcome the obstacles. It can be done.

Social services, mental health professionals and other providers in the community work to get people “off the system” and on the road to self-reliance.

March 14, 2016

Industry Week: Modern Day Rosies: Portraits of Women in Manufacturing

The Jobs to Move America coalition teamed up with California Institute of Technology for Women’s History Month, organizing the Women Can Build photography exhibit. The exhibit, featuring photographs by Pulitzer Prize winner Deanna Fitzmaurice, reveals the overlooked contributions of skilled and hard-working women who are building our trams, rail and buses. Jobs to Move hosted several Caltech faculty to comment on how women around the world are achieving and fighting for equal rights, equal pay, equal access, and equal opportunity in the workplace.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of March 7, 2016

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

By Rachel Linn

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. 


March 11, 2016

Duluth Budgeteer: Students try construction trades hands-on

Orrey was one of 650 students from Denfeld and Duluth East high schools who attended Construct Tomorrow, a hands-on exploration of careers in the construction trades for young people, sponsored through a partnership between the Building Trades, the Duluth Public Schools, the City of Duluth and Lake Superior College.

Thoughts like that are exactly why Amy Hoover of Cement Masons Local 633 was there. Hoover is a third-year apprentice who wants to see more women in the trades.

“A lot of them might think, ‘Well, I’m a woman. It’s not something that’s traditionally a choice for me.'” Hoover said. “So my being here is a way of saying, hey, this is something that you too can think about doing, too. If I can, you can.”

March 10, 2016

Denver Post: Construction firms look to untapped resource for workers — women

Eustace and other women in Colorado’s construction industry would love to tip the scales a little more toward female, though, especially as many contractors struggle to find workers to meet construction demand.

A number of Denver-area companies are recruiting women for apprenticeship programs, in hopes of bolstering numbers both in the field and in technical and leadership positions.

“The sky’s the limit within construction for women. There are so many positions and opportunities that are starving for more female candidates,” said Karla Nugent, chief business development officer for Weifield Group Contracting in Denver. “Multitasking, organization, better communication — we really need that in construction. So many of the positions, they will train if you have basic skills they can build on.”

March 10, 2016

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Op-Ed: SNAP to Skills provides path to self-sufficiency

Tennessee has been selected as one of 10 states to take part in a program to help connect some food stamp recipients with the training and assistance they need to get jobs through the new SNAP to Skills program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About 80 percent of those using SNAP are seniors or people with disabilities who are unable to work, Vilsack said. SNAP to Skills will focus on the 20 percent who are capable of working but face some barrier to a job such as limited access to transportation or lack of job skills.

State agencies will get help in developing initiatives to help low-income, low-skilled people get the type of training and schooling employers demand. Programs may include job-search training, basic-skills training, English-language learning, vocational training, self-employment or on-the-job training, and job-retention services.

March 9, 2016

Arkansas Online: State effort aims to fill skilled jobs

Thousands of jobs are available in Arkansas with salaries above the state’s average income but there are not enough qualified workers to fill them, state leaders said Tuesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and representatives from the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Delta Regional Authority and Wal-Mart announced the start of an initiative, “Be Pro Be Proud,” to tell Arkansans of the relatively high-paying jobs.

Much information about the jobs and current openings is available at beprobeproud.org, a website developed to promote the higher-paying jobs.

March 9, 2016

Duluth News Tribune: Community Foundation launches $1.5 million grant fund to address opportunity disparity

The Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation aims to address that disparity with the launch of a $1.5 million Opportunity Gap Initiative Fund. That money, from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, will be used to offer grants to partner organizations working to help financially disadvantaged families find pathways to a brighter future.

Zastrow identified several fronts where low-income families could use some help.

“Families lack resources and support systems, including transportation … child care, out-of-school programming, education, housing, health care, job training, financial stability and mental health services,” he said.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of February 29, 2016

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

By Rachel Linn

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. 


March 2, 2016

New Hampshire Union Leader: Hassan’s work program could cost up to $100m over 5 years

“Through Gateway to Work, we will strengthen job training, create new apprenticeship opportunities, help remove the barriers that cause too many of our citizens to fail in the workplace and help our young people get a leg up on their futures,” Hassan said while promoting the proposal Wednesday at Manchester Community College.

The plan would provide funds for workers to pay for child care and transportation as well as pay the employee’s salary for six weeks. It also would provide for expanded in-home visitation to work with more at-risk parents and help them enter and stay in the workforce, Hassan said.

“What we saw from our experiences is so many folks that we had hired that we thought would be good workers were failing because of personal barriers, not because of aptitude,” Sullivan said. Many workers faced issues over getting to work or caring for children, he said.

February 26, 2016

York Daily Record: “Pathway of Hope” to help impoverished families

A nationwide effort to help families become self-sufficient and overcome the cycle of poverty is now being offered at The Salvation Army of York.

It’s called the “Pathway of Hope,” and it’s intended to help families overcome barriers that keep them in crisis, said Mindy McCormick, regional coordinator. It could be the lack of job training or difficulty finding affordable child care to work in the evening, for example.

Case workers will work with the families to develop steps to reach their goals, she said. Families will spend 6 months to two years in the program.

February 26, 2016

Banner-Press: Grant boosts youth initiative

According to Nation, the greatest barrier for unconnected youth in Southeast Nebraska is the lack of living wage jobs. Other closely related barriers include the lack of affordable, high-quality child care, housing, public transportation and health care.

BVCA will provide youth assessments, Central Access Navigation, case management, mentoring, financial literacy training, help saving for a vehicle to alleviate transportation needs, RentWise classes, referrals into Head Start for child care, housing assistance and educational/job training referrals. BVCA will also oversee the creation of youth councils to provide input into the services and processes.

February 21, 2016

The Gazette: Good pay may be way to attract more women into construction field

Work in the construction industry often is seen as tough, grueling and dirty. But once the dust has settled, it can offer opportunities and good pay.

But the construction industry still is trying to rebuild its workforce after the recession and as baby boomers retire. Some say now is a good time for more women to pick up the tool belt.

“There’s a great opportunity for women in the industry, it is a great time for them to get in,” said Chad Kleppe, president of Master Builders of Iowa, a construction association. “Construction is in drastic need for workers and it is a perfect time to consider. Employers are willing to train and work with candidates to work them into what they need. It is very advantageous.”

February 13, 2016

Trib Live: Women struggle to escape unemployment, study finds

Unemployed women older than 50 have had a particularly difficult time getting back into the workforce since the recession ended in 2009, despite an improving labor market and unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.

The impact on older women can be especially harsh because they are less likely to have pension balances that would support them, experts say. Unemployment benefits generally provide half a person’s weekly wages and run out after 26 weeks.

More likely are the family considerations that attend decisions to work.

“I think that could be a big factor,” Monge-Naranjo said. “Firms like to hire people that they are a little more certain about the prospects … and traditionally, it has been the case that women are the ones taking time off.”

 

 

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of February 8, 2016

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

By Rachel Linn

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. 


February 12, 2016

Mid Hudson News (New York): Seven women first to enter carpenters’ union apprenticeship program

Seven young women are the first to enter the pre-apprenticeship program sponsored by the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and the Sisters in the Brotherhood

Rahinee Valverde, 25, of New Rochelle is a single mom with two children who joined the program. Her 7-year-old son was thrilled with his mother’s new career. “He can’t wait for me to bring the tools home and play with them,” Valverde said. “He’s really excited. He’s never heard of women carpenters so I first told him, he was shocked. Now he’s really excited.”

February 9, 2016

MarketWatch: White House proposes $2 billion to increase apprenticeships

Cary James spent four years getting a degree in mechanical engineering from Boston University. But after a few years of working in her field, she quit and became an electrician apprentice.

The Obama administration Tuesday proposed a $2 billion Apprenticeship Training Fund as part of its 2017 budget proposal to fulfill the president’s 2014 pledge to double the number of apprentices in the United States before he leaves office. While common in Europe, apprenticeship has yet to catch on in the United States. Last year, less than one-half of 1% of the U.S. workforce was in an apprenticeship program, the Labor Department said.

February 7, 2016

Globe Gazette (Iowa): Women learn to operate construction equipment through simulators in Mason City

Iowa Workforce Development, IowaWORKS and Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo are using a $75,000 Walmart Foundation grant to introduce low-income Iowa women to jobs in construction.

The grant covers the costs of bringing a specialized Hawkeye Community College trailer equipped with six construction simulators and a welding simulator, along with an instructor, to each of the state’s 15 IowaWORKS offices in 2016.

Construction is the second-highest-paying industry for men engaged in the Promise Jobs program, which provides work and training services to Family Investment Program participants. However, women represent only 2.3 percent of those holding construction jobs. Data also indicates construction is an industry showing growth in projected openings and wages.

Also in The Daily NonPareil: Women can explore construction field with equipment simulator

 

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of February 1, 2016

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

By Rachel Linn

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. 


February 1, 2016

WCPO Cincinnati: What’s old is new again: Apprenticeships for manufacturing jobs help fill big workforce gap

Bullock, 37, pivoted to a career path that offers much better pay than waiting tables and one that’s hungry for skilled workers: machine tool operating. The industry is thriving in Greater Cincinnati to the point that prospective workers can be trained in a year or less without the need for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree for entry-level jobs that can pay $20 an hour or more.

January 30, 2016

Providence Journal: John Kostrzewa: R.I.’s cities need most help closing job-skills gap

“Working women of color have a different experience with the labor market than women as a whole,” she said. “Policymakers should address workforce development programs that target these populations.”

Jordan-Zachery’s report said that job-training programs that have reached women of color in cities tend to focus on low-skill jobs that don’t pay enough to support a family.

She also said the programs do not recognize the geographical “spatial mismatch,” explaining that while the women live in the central cities, the jobs they are being trained for are in the suburbs and they often have few transportation options to get there.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of January 26, 2016

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

By Rachel Linn

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. 


 

January 27, 2016

PBS NewsHour: The only girl in school to spark an interest in welding

“The bigger picture is, why aren’t there more women going into welding or why aren’t there more women going into manufacturing,” said Rude. “From day one, women are fed the story of pink and princess,” she added. “It’s definitely a false representation of individuality.”

Watch more stories of students challenging gender stereotypes, part of our series called Outside the Box.

January 27, 2016

Lowell Sun (MA): Task force tackling underemployment

At a meeting of the governor’s Task Force on Persons Facing Chronically Higher Rates of Unemployment on Monday, Baker announced that his administration would invest $5 million of his fiscal 2017 budget into targeting chronically high unemployment. The breakdown of those funds will include $2 million to create an Economic Opportunity Fund, for investing in community-based organizations who partner with businesses to offer job training and hiring opportunities for people who face employment barriers…

Gregg Croteau, UTEC’s executive director, who was appointed to the task force when it was formed last March, told The Sun on Tuesday that his organization is “really optimistic” that Baker’s budget will include funding for helping people re-entering society after incarceration. “This Economic Opportunity Fund is really well-crafted in the sense that it also recognizes there’s a need for the supportive services as well,” Croteau said, including child care, transportation and help with substance-abuse issues.

January 26, 2016

Education Week (blog): Workforce Training Programs Should Consider Equity, Acting Ed. Secretary Says

States, communities, school districts, non-profits, and the federal government need to make sure equity is the watchword for implementation of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. That was the message John B. King Jr., the acting U.S. Secretary of Education, delivered Tuesday to the Workforce Opportunity and Investment Act national convening, a conference of 700 state leaders and other organizations working to implement the new law.

King is hoping that job training facilities, community colleges, and adult-education providers will think about the needs of English-language learners, minority students, low-income students, students with disabilities parents, and other “nontraditional” students as they implement WIOA, which generally governors job training programs.

He urged job training programs, post-secondary institutions, and other adult education providers to think about potential barriers students might face in completing their training or degree, such as lack of access to child care or transportation.

January 22, 2016

EvoLLLution (an online newspaper on higher education): Community Colleges and the New Workforce Development Ecosystem

By Darlene Miller, Executive Director, National Council for Workforce Education

Finally, to address the personal barriers and challenges faced by so many students, community colleges must improve their partnerships with local community-based organizations. Nonprofits are well-equipped to provide case management and strong support systems to help students overcome barriers and challenges. Through high-quality education programming, providing a range of academic and non-academic support services, and employer engagement strategies to ensure the partnership meets the demands of local industries, these types of partnerships are able to leverage institutional capacities and resources to ensure student success

January 21, 2016

Duluth News Tribune: Program aims to help people land better-paying jobs

The program has been dubbed Connect Forward, and it will build on five years of work at a Financial Opportunity Center operated by Community Action Duluth and funded primarily by $885,000 already funneled through LISC, to date.

Miller pledged that her organization will assist 150 people through the program in the coming year. She said Community Action provides accessible evening classes twice a week, with coaching, child care and food available on site.

Marissa Jackson came to Community Action Duluth in March 2014 as a young single parent living in her parents’ home. She said staff members helped her create a budget and locate affordable housing, but employment difficulties have been difficult to overcome.

“Finding a job for a single mom is hard, especially when you don’t have child care support,” she said. “Jobs in my field, which is working as a personal care assistant, can be challenging because they often involve working nights and weekends.”

January 21, 2016

Industry Week: Leadership Lab Gives Women in Manufacturing a Boost

The national trade group Women in Manufacturing, along with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, today announced the creation of a Leadership Lab for Women in Manufacturing. The training program will provide executive education and training to its members in mid- to high-level management roles in manufacturing careers.

January 20, 2016

Costal Courier: Georgia missing a chance to strengthen its workforce

By Melissa Johnson, a policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

While most adults who rely on cash and food assistance in Georgia lack any education beyond high school, not enough of the state’s workers are trained for so-called middle-skill jobs. Middle-skill jobs require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

A new Georgia Budget and Policy Institute report shows how the state could better leverage the potential of safety net programs Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) to build a more skilled workforce. Using these initiatives to educate Georgians with low incomes would have long-term benefits for the state.

Why paid leave in DC would be more affordable than you think

by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

At a hearing on January 14, the D.C. City Council heard from a number of researchers who testified about the estimated cost of implementing the proposed Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015. By allowing up to 16 weeks of paid leave, D.C.’s proposal is very generous—by U.S. standards—and has attracted national attention. The researchers’ cost estimates ranged from $281 million to upwards from $1 billion annually.  Why such a large range? As is often the case with economic analysis, the devil is in the details, or more specifically, the assumptions.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) estimated the cost would be at the low end, $280.8 million, affordable enough to be covered by less than one percent of payroll. IWPR’s testimony was based on an economic model that has been developed across 15 years and is the only estimate presented to the D.C. Council that relies on the best available data on who takes leave and for how long.

The higher estimates from the other researchers—who have expertise on taxes and regional business,  not paid leave—fail to take age, gender, and income sufficiently into account. As a result, they assume that many more workers would take leave and would take substantially more leave under the DC program than they do now. These are not reasonable assumptions.

First, let’s consider who will take leave through the public program. Almost every employee at some point in his or her work life experiences an extended own illnesses, the serious illness of a loved one, or the birth or adoption of a child, but typically not all in the same year and certainly not every year. In a single year, about 11 percent of District workers take some form of leave. Around two-thirds of leaves currently taken in DC are for one’s own illness; one in four leaves are to care for other family members; and, perhaps surprisingly, the lowest share of leaves taken (13 percent) are maternity and bonding leaves. We estimate the number of these leaves will increase under the Council’s program, but not drastically.

The proposed DC bill provides full wage replacement for workers earning less than $52,000 per year, and partial wage replacement for higher earners. Importantly, nearly half of DC workers have earnings over $52,000 and would receive less than full wage replacement; they may look to their employers, not the program, for the full wage replacement to which they have become accustomed.

Next, researchers must make a reasonable assumption for how long worker leaves will be under the new program. IWPR’s model predicts a moderate increase in the length of leave—from 3 weeks to 4 weeks at the median—again, not a drastic increase. Half of workers taking leave would be expected to take 4 weeks or less.

While the proposed bill increases access to paid leave, especially to low-wage and part-time workers, job protection for taking leave would still not cover those employed by smaller establishments with fewer than 20 employees. Rhode Island, which recently implemented paid leave, found that over 40 percent of leave takers said they would not have used the program were it not for the job protection, indicating how highly workers value the right to return to their jobs.

There are many other reasons for workers not to take the full leaves for which they are eligible, including the reluctance to fall behind at work and the desire to advance in their career. Research on paid sick days has shown that, even when workers report that they have paid sick days, the typical worker misses only two days of work in a given year.

The final assumption to consider is crucial: what will men do when offered paid leave? Men are half of the city’s potential leave-taking workforce. If men are offered greater access to paid leave, will they take it—and take the full amount—to bond with a new child or to care for a sick relative? In the first ten years of California’s paid family leave program, men’s proportion of leaves taken for family reasons climbed from 17 percent in 2005 to 30 percent in 2013. In Norway, where leave is nearly fully paid and taking leave is less stigmatized, only 21 percent of fathers took the maximum that was available to them in 2012.

Perhaps one of the most unrealistic assumptions made when estimating the costs of paid leave is that we live in a world where men are equally as likely as women to take leave for caregiving. By guaranteeing paid leave for all workers, we may get there one day.

Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., is the president and founder of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a DC-based think tank. She is an economist and received a MacArthur Fellowship for her work on women in the workforce.