Segregation in Federally-Funded Job Training Programs Contributes to the Gender Wage Gap

by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., and Asha DuMonthier

Women and men enter job training programs with similar goals in mind—they want to expand their skill set, increase their earnings, and support their families. However, there is a gender divide in the occupational areas for which women and men receive training, which contributes to to inequalities in men and women’s earnings. Women are more likely to receive training in managerial, technical, and professional occupations, as well as in service and sales and clerical occupations (Figure 1). Men, however, are much more likely than women to receive training in male-dominated occupations like construction and transportation, which tend to have higher earnings than female-dominated jobs. This gender segregation in training programs closely resembles patterns in the labor market as a whole, where women are 72.2 percent of office and administrative support workers, while men are 96.5 percent of installation, maintenance, and repair workers, and more than 97 percent of all construction and extraction workers.

Figure 1. Occupational Breakdown of Training for Adult Exiters, from April 2013 to March 2014

Figure 1 Blog

Source: IWPR compilation of data from Social Policy Research Associates 2015, Table III-21.

Gender segregation in job training programs has important implications for women’s long-term economic security. Data for adults who finished training programs funded by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) between April 2013 and March 2014 show that while women were the majority of those who received intensive and training services (51 percent, Table II-10) and were, on average, in programs of longer duration than men (Table II-18), their average earnings after receiving WIA services were lower than men’s. In the fourth quarter after finishing adult programs, women who exited programs between July 2012 and June 2013 earned $5,296 compared with $7,188 for men (Table II-31). (Published data do not provide information on earnings prior to receiving WIA services and include all exiters, not just those with full-time earnings.)

Women earn less after completing job training programs in part because female-dominated occupations (occupations where women are more than 75 percent of the workforce) pay less than traditionally male occupations (occupations where men are more than 75 percent of the workforce). In a study of Perkins-funded CTE programs using data from the U.S. Department of Education and Bureau of Labor Statistics, women made up over 80 percent of participants in 2010 in postsecondary “Human Services” courses, which prepare students for low-paying service jobs such as Child Care Provider ($9.34 per hour on average) and Cosmetologist ($10.85 on average). In contrast, women were less than 10 percent of participants in “Architecture and Construction” courses, which train students for higher-paying jobs like Electrician ($23.71 per hour on average).

Multiple forces contribute to gender segregation in job training programs. One study found that counseling services may influence women’s decisions to pursue traditional female-dominated career paths. While many women in the study said that they were not interested in nontraditional skills, the number who reported that they were interested was greater than the number who were referred to nontraditional training. What is more, many of the women surveyed said that the career advice they were given did not include information on the likely wages and benefits of different occupations; had they known this information, they might have pursued nontraditional training.

Women pursuing career paths in male-dominated fields may also experience difficulties as a result of hostile work cultures or outright discrimination. In a recent IWPR poll of about 80 financial social workers, the most common explanation given for women’s low share of good-paying jobs in male-dominated fields was discrimination and a lack of a welcoming work and training environments. The scarcity of women in higher-skilled, male-dominated occupations may make women in those training programs and employment settings feel isolated and increase their chances of exposure to harassment and discrimination.

Because women are the primary or co-breadwinner in half of U.S. families with children, women’s lower earnings after completing training programs have serious consequences for families’ economic security. Encouraging women to pursue nontraditional fields through counseling and fostering welcoming and non-discriminatory environments in male-dominated fields are important steps to ending gender segregation in programs and increasing women’s opportunities to secure jobs that will provide economic stability for themselves and their families.

Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., is Associate Director of Research at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Asha DuMonthier is a Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellow for Women and Public Policy at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of May 16, 2016

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

By Asha DuMonthier

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.


May 17, 2016

WisBusiness.com: Panel: Employers need to involve themselves in skills gap solutions

If Wisconsin fixes its long-term skills gap problem, it’s going to be because employers help students early to figure out their best career options, according to a WisPolitics.com panel. That’s already happening in several places around Wisconsin, said Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy. But more and more employers need to help policymakers and schools ensure Wisconsin has enough skilled workers in the future, he said.

[…] It’s more than just technical skills, she added, noting that companies look for “soft skills” such as critical thinking. Colleges also need to help address the several obstacles students face outside of school, such as hunger and homelessness, she said. “We have to make sure that the students have the credentials they need,” she said. “But they need to have all those wrap-around support services and good career planning to really be a productive value employee.”

State of Reform: FamilyCare awards $532,000 in grants to support BH access

ADELANTE MUJERES: $24,237 for increasing food security for Latina women and their young children. The grant will benefit those living in western Washington County who are enrolled in classes such as GED Prep in Spanish, computer skills, job training, and parenting and personal growth classes. This program is intended to (1) Increase Latino Families consumption of fresh, local produce and, (2) Inform and refer participants to federal benefit programs in order to improve participants’ food security.

May 12, 2016

RGV Proud: Texas Veterans Commission Awards $300,000 Grant to Help Valley Veterans

The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) announced that the Texas Veterans Commission through the Funds for Veterans Assistance program, awarded VIDA a $300,000 grant to provide educational and job training opportunities as well as supportive services for veterans in the Rio Grande Valley. The program name for this grant is VIDA for Veterans!

The TVC grant will allow VIDA to infuse its comprehensive wraparound support services program, which includes an intensive case management component that provides career pathway choices to underserved, unemployed, and underemployed Texas veterans, their surviving spouses and dependents (Beneficiaries) for all counties of the Rio Grande Valley.

 

New Overtime Rule is Tangible Progress for Women, Especially Mothers and Women of Color

by Jennifer Clark

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited final rule on raising the salary threshold under which working people can earn overtime pay. The final rule will double the current salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, directly benefiting 12.5 million workers, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. The rule is undoubtedly major progress for workers struggling to support their families at a decent standard of living, and especially for working women in the United States.

According to EPI, over half of the workers—6.4 million—who will directly benefit from the increased threshold are women. A report produced last year by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and MomsRising also found that women of color and single mothers—groups that are especially economically vulnerable—will disproportionately benefit: under a slightly higher threshold, nearly half of currently exempt black and Hispanic women workers and working single mothers would gain coverage. (The analysis was based on the $50,440 threshold originally proposed by DOL; the final rule, set at a slightly lower earnings threshold, will likely show an even greater proportion of women of color and single mothers benefiting, as these groups tend to earn less than women overall.)

OT Story 1b.jpg

The final $47,476 was chosen because it represents the earnings of the 40th percentile of salaried workers in the South. Women are now the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with young children. In the South, half of all breadwinner mothers are women of color, with black mothers especially likely to be carrying the responsibility their family’s economic security. Four out of five black mothers in the South are breadwinners, compared with half of white and Hispanic mothers in the region. With over 2 million working mothers across the country newly covered under this final rule, more families, like Cynthia’s, can benefit from additional earnings or, if not obligated to work long hours with no extra pay, more time with loved ones.

For other women who have shared their stories with MomsRising, overtime pay has been the difference between making ends meet and choosing between paying for electricity at home or gas to get to work. While more still must be done to ensure women can make ends meet for their families without working overtime, the new rule gives millions of working women who work long hours already without compensation a little more breathing room.

OT Story 7.jpg

With fair pay (at time and a half) for workers who work more than 40 hours per week now becoming a reality for so many women earning less than $47,476 per year, it’s time for policymakers to make paid family leave and equal pay realities as well—major steps that will also help to bring women and their families above poverty and toward a middle class living standard.

Read more stories and analysis in IWPR and MomsRising’s 2015 report, How the New Overtime Rule Will Help Women & Families.

Find updated estimates on how many workers will be affected under the final rule from the Economic Policy Institute.

Jennifer Clark  is the Director of Communications at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of May 9, 2016

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

By Asha DuMonthier

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.


May 9, 2016

Al DÍA News: Philadelphia Works to launch employment job training program

This Wednesday, Philadelphia Works, in collaboration with The Workplace, will launch a new job training program for long term unemployed residents of Philadelphia. […] P2E, which began in Southwest Connecticut in 2011, combines a five-week job readiness training course with personal and family support services and financial counseling, all at no cost to the participant.

May 7, 2016

Casa Grande Dispatch: Arizona@Work Pinal County tries to match employers with workers

Now Pinal jobs officials have taken a new approach to getting jobs for people, talking to the businesses in the area to see what jobs are in demand. The idea is to get input from businesses on where they see their companies going, what sorts of positions they predict they will need to fill and making sure there is training for those jobs readily available.

[…] Arizona@Work is funded federally and uses the money to help with recruitment services, employee development programs and support services for existing businesses and employees. One of the resources that is available is AZjobconnection.gov, where people looking for jobs can peruse open positions, and employers can browse through resumes that are hosted on the servers.

May 6, 2016

Dayton Daily News: Thousands of youth summer jobs at risk, area officials say

The state is taking millions of dollars in funding from its subsidized summer employment program and putting it into a new year-round program that provides educational and training support to low-income young people.

[…] The year-round program will provide case management and wrap-around services to low-income and out-of-school youth between the ages of 16 and 24, said Hoffman. The new program’s goals are to provide education, training and other support to young people to maintain sustainable employment, break the cycle of poverty and address life issues like childcare and transportation, said Hoffman.

May 5, 2016

Boston Globe: Moms are making their way into construction industry

Some women find their way into the building trades through friends and family, the traditional route. In 2011, Building Pathways, a six-week pre-apprenticeship training program was launched to introduce women and minorities to the industry. According to a case study published by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City last fall, more than half of its 125 graduates were women. There are also efforts to strengthen the pipeline from vocational schools to union-apprenticeship programs. On March 30, the first-ever Massachusetts Girls In Trades Conference drew more than 400 female students.

[…] Once in the industry, women can face roadblocks, one of the more significant being child care. (Workers often are required to head to work long before day-care facilities open.) PGTI and Building Pathways are part of a team developing child-care solutions for women in construction.

May 4, 2016

Evanston Round Table: City’s Youth and Young Adult Division Provides Job Opportunities and Other Services, Reduces Violence

The City has more than 2,000 at-risk youth and young adults between the ages of 18 and 26, says Kevin Brown, who has overseen the City’s Youth and Young Adult Division for the past five years. Since his arrival, that Division has hired six outreach workers and has ramped up its efforts to reach out to at-risk youth and young adults, and to provide them services to meet their needs, often in partnership with other agencies and community organizations.

An important part of the outreach program is to stem violence in the community by connecting young adults with job opportunities and other supports and mediating disputes.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of May 2, 2016

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

By Asha DuMonthier

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.


May 4, 2016

LA Weekly: Robert Egger Dreamed of Changing the World Through music. He Changed it Through Food Instead

In 1989, Egger founded D.C. Central Kitchen. The groundbreaking meal distribution and job training program helped combat food waste and reduce homeless rates in a city reeling from Reagan-era social cutbacks and a sprawling crack epidemic. In the ensuing two and a half decades, D.C. Kitchen produced more than 30 million meals and helped 1,500 men and women gain full-time employment, with the program’s model spreading to 50 other “campus kitchens” across the country.

[…] In 2013, Egger returned to Los Angeles to launch L.A. Kitchen, an ambitious hybrid nonprofit and social enterprise located in a Lincoln Heights warehouse. It serves as both a nonprofit culinary job training center for former inmates and at-risk youth — where students use donated produce and food that would otherwise go to waste — and a separate, for-profit catering operation called Strong Food, which employs program graduates to prepare healthy food aimed at feeding low-income seniors.

April 30, 2016

Madison Magazine: Job training program makes a difference

It was a controversial concept: Require Wisconsin residents to work or get job training to be eligible for FoodShare benefits (commonly known as food stamps). Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the state Legislature forged ahead with the idea in two consecutive budgets and allocated more than $50 million to the FoodShare Employment and Training program. Starting in April 2015, able-bodied adults without dependent children would be required to work 80 hours per month or enter the FSET program.

[…] I get gas vouchers every three weeks … I go to [Madison College] on the east side, I live on the southwest side and my job is in Oregon. They give me $35 every three weeks and that helps me tremendously. And since I work at least five hours a week, my daycare is pretty much covered in full. Because I’m a full-time student and part-time worker, that’s [a] tremendous help to me.

April 27, 2016

St. Louis Public Radio: Apprenticeship pilot program to train child care workers in St. Louis

The two-year program includes five weeks of classes, paid on-the-job training beginning at $9.50 an hour, and placement at an early childhood education program with pay scaling up to $13 an hour. Participants will graduate as Child Development Associates with a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

[…] Dawn Winkler, who directs an association of St. Louis day care centers called United 4 Children, said centers often struggle to find qualified employees who are willing to work for the wages they can afford to offer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for day care workers is $10.72, or $22,310 a year.

April 25, 2016

Naples Daily News: The Heights Foundation Expands Culinary Training and Job Placement Program

The Heights Foundation is expanding their culinary training and job placement program. The 14 week program, currently in place at The Heights Center will expand to include the Grace Church campuses in Cape Coral and Fort Myers in May. It was created to address the issue of unemployment and underemployment. The food service industry training is designed to develop job-specific technical skills as well as providing support services and experiences to address barriers to success including learning challenges, minimal academic skills, limited English Proficiency, financial literacy, transportation and scheduling concerns.

April 21, 2016

WKYC: Cuyahoga County starts job-training program for prisoners

On Thursday, County Executive Armond Budish announced the county is launching its own first program to help male prisoners learn job skills, deal with substance abuse issues and strive for more education. […] After they are released, former prisoners will keep getting job readiness training, case management and support services to help them re-enter the community and land a job.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of April 18, 2016

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

By Asha DuMonthier

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.


April 19, 2016

Capital & Main: Women Convicts Train for a Future

Before Legend’s visit, In the Public Interest joined with the National Employment Law Project (NELP) to release a new report to bring attention to how unions are creating job training programs nationwide to help people coming out of prison. Programs like Washington’s own Trades Related Apprenticeship Coaching (TRAC) program prepare prisoners and the formerly incarcerated for one of the most difficult parts of reentering society, finding work.

[…] Washington Corrections Center for Women’s TRAC program trains incarcerated women in building and construction work, providing a leg up in earning entry into a union apprenticeship program that leads to a career with good wages and benefits.

Columbus Underground: Job Training Service Provides Bridge to Competitive Employment

Greenleaf, a Columbus job training facility targeting veterans, individuals with learning disabilities, and others “who face significant barriers to employment,” will launch their Community Work HABits program this year.

[…] Filling in that gap includes training in soft work skills, like how to interact with colleagues and how to adjust to a work environment. People in training will also learn the day to day tasks that accompany independence, like budget planning, navigating public transportation, and actively seeking out employment.

April 15, 2016

Prior Lake American: Back to school for South Korea native

A lot can get in the way of getting an education. During the May 2015-March 2016 period at the GED course, a total of 23 students attended and four passed at least one of the four GED tests. Six students showed level gains from their assessment at the start of the class. Some of those students didn’t attend often enough to accurately assess their progress. The Prior Lake-Savage site offers free childcare in the building for students who need it, but even then it can be hard to find the time and transportation required to complete the course.

ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com: Baker, Polito Announce Workforce Skills Capital Grants

NECAT [New England Center for Arts and Technology, Boston] will deepen its capacity to provide culinary training and support services to low-income adults facing barriers to employment, by purchasing several pieces of equipment, including kitchen appliances and computers.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of April 11, 2016

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

By Asha DuMonthier

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.


April 15, 2016

NPR: This Bakery Offers A Second Chance for Women After Prison

It’s [Together We Bake] a bakery in Alexandria, Va. that makes granola, cookies and kale chips for local eateries and a local Whole Foods store. It’s also a job-training and coaching program for women in need of a second chance — many of whom have served time in prison, or are on probation following criminal charges.

[…] Together We Bake also weaves in resilience training and empowerment classes to help trainees cope with their challenges. The sessions are overseen by Wright, who has a background in social work, and they’re often led by women who’ve been through the program. The curriculum is based on a book titled Houses of Healing, which lays out a mindfulness-based, research driven approach to help people change their behavior and overcome feelings of negativity and lack of self worth.

April 14, 2016

The Hour: FESP program helps women in need continue education

Now, The Family Economic Security Program, which comes from the Fairfield County Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls, is expanding, having started in September at Bridgeport’s Housatonic Community College. […] For five years, Norwalk Community College has been at the forefront of a program that provides low-income women with scholarships, emergency funds, financial and achievement coaching, and peer-to-peer mentoring.

[…] Citing trends that show younger, single mothers often working in low-wage jobs, if they are able to be employed at all, the program’s founders decided to tackle a skills gap that is keeping more women and families in poverty. Today, the enhanced FESP entails a workforce development component, coaching support, financial literacy development and access to community supports and more.

April 11, 2016

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Va., CVS collaborate on training program for young adults with disabilities

After graduating from Varina High School in Henrico in June 2014, Rushing entered a job training program at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in Augusta County.

Each year, the center helps about 3,000 people with disabilities attain independence, medical rehabilitation and employment through a variety of services. The center offers training in more than half a dozen trades, including automotive maintenance, food service, information technology and manufacturing.