Informing policy. Inspiring change. Improving lives.
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036
202 785-5100

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of November 16, 2015

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.

November 19, 2015

The Fairfield Sun: Funding helps create pathways to economic security for women

Prosperity Together partners will use their respective experience and knowledge to continue funding programs that are proven effective in their communities and states. The types of programs that will be funded include job training programs that are customized to address the cultural and educational needs of low-income women in order to secure a higher-wage job in a stable work environment.

November 16, 2015

San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Why Metro wants to hire more women for construction jobs

Though Metro doesn’t actually build anything, it contracts with companies that do. Both must fulfill project labor agreements that include hiring a certain percentage of minorities and women.

Federal guidelines say each project should have 6.9 percent women. While some Metro projects are near that, others have less than 1 percent, said Miguel Cabral, Metro’s deputy executive officer of diversity and economic opportunity.

Also covered in Construction Dive: Los Angeles Metro ramps up efforts to recruit women construction workers

November 16, 2015

Birmingham Business Journal: Women’s Fund to invest $2.5M in local job training and child care

The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham will be investing $2.5 million over the next five years toward job training for women, child care and economic research.

November 13, 2015

Star Tribune: Women’s foundations pledge $100 million to bolster economic security for American women, families

In Minnesota, money will be allocated to bolster education and job training services, as well as child care, to help women secure higher-wage, stable work, officials said. Funding also will be used for research to inform best practices for policy change.

“A special focus must be placed on women of color, who are on the bottom rung of every economic indicator in Minnesota, just as they are in many states in the nation,” said Lee Roper-Batker, president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, which will commit $15 million to the effort over the next five years.

 November 13, 2015

Naples Daily News: Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida joins national initiative to empower disadvantaged

The foundations’ efforts will focus largely on funding job training programs that address educational needs and cultural issues to help low-income women get better jobs. It also will help fund child care programs so mothers can be in the workplace and their children can get an academic start.

November 12, 2015

Construction Dive: Are women the answer to the construction labor shortage?

However, the industry is also facing another shortage — women in the construction trades. Women represent half of the population in the U.S. but, according to a 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, women make up less than 10% of the construction industry workforce. Some groups, like the National Women’s Law Center, peg that figure at 3%, although organizations like the AGC contend their numbers include only women in the field, and not those in administrative or professional positions.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: 2015 National Apprenticeship Week Round-Up

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.

November 8, 2015

Star Tribune: Progress has been slow but steady for women in construction

[Minnesotan Kimberly Brinkman’s] experiences were echoed in the recent survey by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. One common experience for almost all tradeswomen is being the only woman on the job site. When Brinkman attended the Women Build Nations Conference in Los Angeles last spring, she was brought to tears when she entered a room with over 1,000 tradeswomen. “What a powerful experience,” she said. “It is an act of courage and strength to work in an industry dominated by men,” she continued. “The stories inspired me … to change the status quo.”

November 4, 2015

Oregon Live: Oregon a national leader in recruiting women apprentices but challenges remain

A 2014 report praised Oregon as one of two states making exemplary efforts to improve diversity in the highway construction trades, notably by dedicating a portion of its federal highway funding for training and support services for women and minorities. Having the state pay for such things as child care expenses, mileage, tools and clothing makes it more likely that women can continue their apprenticeships, the report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found.

November 4, 2015

Jobs for the Future: Expanding the Path to Apprenticeships to Women and Minority Workers

Pre-apprenticeships are a critical entry point into a training and career pathway for numerous reasons. A good program has deep community ties, and can recruit women and minorities to consider nontraditional occupations and apprenticeship programs as a real option for their future. They teach these individuals the technical skills, contextualized literacy and numeracy skills, and soft skills they need to succeed on the job or in an apprenticeship. Finally, these programs are equipped provide the case management that connects their trainees to the resources they need to overcome their transportation, housing, child care, and other barriers to work.

November 4, 2015

303 Magazine: How Denver Women are Using Cooking to Get off Welfare

However, WOW also provides a slew of advanced training courses that can act as a solution to the cliff effect since students enrolled in courses—such as those for sous chef certification—have the potential to make $35K to $40K a year with complete benefits. Though these extensive training course are not the right fit for every student, WOW does boast a hefty repertoire of ancillary services that supports students at all levels. This includes help with everything from resume writing and interview training, to cognitive behavioral therapy, in-house emergency child care and safety planning for those in domestic violence situations. Some services are even offered throughout their lifetime.

November 4, 2015

San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed: Apprenticeships offer debt-free job training

By Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions

Rather than reinvent the wheel, policymakers should turn to a training infrastructure that’s worked for decades. For a thriving economy, we need to double the number of American apprentices.

Citizens should press their governments and community-based organizations to partner with their local building trades unions to enact robust apprenticeship readiness programs— especially ones that give communities of color, women and veterans a leg up on the ladder to the middle class.

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of November 2, 2015

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.

November 3, 2015

Journal Star (Peoria, IL): ICC program looks at tech field apprenticeships as entry point for women and minorities

It’s time for women and minorities to be included in the technical revolution. That was the idea behind the Illinois Central College program Tuesday on apprenticeships for minorities and women. The program, part of a week-long celebration at ICC on the importance of apprenticeships, was attended by 120 people.“Only 7 percent of the apprentices in this country at the present time are female. There is also an underrepresentation of minorities among apprentices in our nation,” said Ali, noting that ICC sought to broaden the apprenticeship concept.

October 31, 2015

The Des Moines Register: The struggle to help people find better jobs

Marvin DeJear, director of the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families, said nonprofits and government programs that work with youth have disappeared in recent decades.

The Evelyn K. Davis Center opened in 2012 to act as a clearinghouse of sorts for those seeking work. Aside from working on specific job searching skills, DeJear said, counselors spend much of their time working through personal issues such as child care and transportation.

October 24, 2015

Marietta Daily Journal (Atlanta, Georgia): Local construction training builds careers

Simmons is one of 16 trainees who graduated Friday as the inaugural class of Go Build Cobb, a free four-week construction skills training and employment course aimed at giving people a leg up into a growing industry in metro Atlanta. The program is a partnership between CobbWorks, the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, The Collective at Cumberland Community Church and HB Next, a business management consulting company.

Simmons said she aspires to build a career for herself and encourage other women to take advantage of opportunities in construction, a traditionally male-dominated field. “I love hands-on, I love building. I love seeing the outcome of my time and my effort,” said Simmons. “If I go on site and do my best like I’ve done in this class, I mean, I can see myself really moving up.”

But for the unemployed or underemployed, attending a four-week course can be a struggle. Only half the participants have both a car and a valid license, and many cannot afford to pay for transportation in addition to going without pay for the period of training and however long it takes them to find a job afterwards.

October 19, 2015

KAJO 1270 (Oregon) RCC Awarded Grant To Help Low-Income Students Gets Jobs in Health Care

A $14.6 million federal grant awarded to Rogue Community College will benefit nearly 1,100 new low-income students in job training and education programs for health careers.

Students already enrolled in college-level programs at RCC cannot apply. A news release says applicants who qualify will be put into a lottery and selected from that pool. The grant funds will also be able to pay for child care, emergency food and housing support and transportation.

October 14, 2015

The Missouri Times: Missouri to use $15 million grant to provide job training for health care careers, Gov. Nixon announces

The JETS partnership will offer a combination of classroom learning, on-the-job training, and distance learning opportunities to improve access to the necessary skills and knowledge for these health professions.  Those currently working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or other entry level positions may be eligible for the JETS program and use the training to move to the next level in their profession.  Participants will also get support to overcome barriers to employment including child care and transportation needs.

October 10, 2015

The Tampa Tribune: Building a future for women in construction industry

The second round of seminars for Women Building Futures, a program that gives women a sneak peek at carpentry, plumbing, painting, flooring installation and construction drawings, begins this week. Once they’ve finished that program, if they decide to take advantage of an apprenticeship, women can become certified in any number of trades that could boost their income considerably — at very little cost to them.

“When the Women’s Centre started in 1977, this was one of their first programs,” said Women Building Futures program manager Luis Rodriguez, who signed up 24 women for the first set of workshops. “The idea was to help women step into roles traditionally held by male breadwinners.”

September 14, 2015

Hometown Source: Minnesota receives $5M federal grant to expand registered apprenticeship in high-growth jobs

The grant partners the Department of Economic and Employee Development (DEED) and Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) with employers to support activities including outreach and recruiting, assessments, adult basic education, wrap-around support services and on-the-job and industry recognized credential training.

As of September 2015, Minnesota reached a high mark of almost 11,000 registered apprentices; up from approximately 6,600 in 2011. Minnesota’s apprenticeship employers and the state’s construction labor unions have increased their focus on outreach and recruiting of women and minorities. These efforts have resulted in the number of apprentices that are women and minorities rising from 17 percent in 2011 to 26 percent in 2015.

August 24, 2015

The Chicago Tribune: Dold: $100M program would move people from welfare to workforce

Currently under review in a U.S. House committee, the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act would provide wage assistance for employers to help create more employment opportunities. States would receive federal funds to subsidize employment for those already identified as eligible Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, recipients, under the plan.

Tamera Wallace, a 20-year-old Waukegan resident, described her struggles as a single mother trying to find and hold a job to pay the bills. Transportation and child care, she said, are the two biggest issues faced by job-seekers such as herself.

August 21, 2015

WCPO Cincinnati: Mom who left kids alone for job training faces charges

A mom seeking a job is facing charges for leaving her three young kids alone in a case that should remind parents that there is free or cheap child-care available if they need it.

Dozier went across the street for job orientation at Wendy’s and admitted she knew she would be leaving her kids unattended for at least a half hour. But she was desperate for a job, she said.

August 20, 2015

Maine Women Magazine: Non-traditional training can build better future

Founded in 1988, Women Unlimited helps Maine residents move toward earning a livable wage through access to and support of trade, technical, and transportation careers. The nonprofit, which receives the majority of its funding from federal and state sources, began as a welfare-to-work program for single mothers but has grown to aid in the “economic well-being of Maine women, minorities, and disadvantaged workers.”

August 12, 2015 (Alabama): RSTC awarded workforce grant

Reid State Technical College has been awarded a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity ACT (WIOA) grant that will allow youth to obtain education and employability skills. This act will enable youth with difficulties seeking employment to gain on-the-job training opportunities, academic, and occupational skills training.

In order to help alleviate some of the financial burdens that can arise for students, Reid State will offer incentives that could help motivate them to keep pushing forward. Students who participate regularly by taking advantage of the services being offered thru the grant will be allowed to capitalize on their commitment. Eligible students may receive a gas card once a week or every other week and/or receive child care services at least two days a week.

July 22, 2015

The Unionville Times (West Chester, PA): County announces new job training, support initiative

The Chester County Commissioners and the Chester County Workforce Development Board announced Tuesday the start of Platform to Employment (P2E), a program that provides job readiness training, personal support services, finance counseling and paid work experience with the intent to secure jobs for individuals who have experienced long-term unemployment in Chester County.

In addition to intensive career readiness workshops, P2E incorporates financial stability counseling and mental health counseling to help address the inevitable stress factors that long-term unemployment status places upon people.

July 21, 2015

Industry Week: Closing the Gender Gap, and with It, the Skills Gap

A new study finds that manufacturing can attract more women by making a concerted effort to recruit them through their social networks; retaining them through mentorships, better pay and more flexible hours; and fostering girls’ interest in manufacturing careers as early as fourth grade.

Socioeconomic Supports in Job Training Programs: How You Can Help Determine their Value

This post originally appeared in the August/September 2015 edition of NAWDP Advantage, the newsletter of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals. September is designated as Workforce Development Month.

By Rachel Linn, Communications Associate, and Cynthia Hess, Study Director

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers, yet many adults face economic, scheduling, and other challenges that make it difficult for them to enroll and succeed in job training programs. Socioeconomic supports—or 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 job training programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing.

Socioeconomic supports, as a route to job training access and success, are especially important for women, who increasingly serve as breadwinners for their families, but still face a pay gap. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that as of 2013, women were the primary or co-breadwinner in half of families with children under age 18 in the United States — yet women continue to earn less, and experience higher poverty than comparable men.

Evaluation research points to the importance of socioeconomic support services for job training completion and success. An evaluation of nine sectoral programs found that supportive services were often necessary to help participants complete job training and obtain jobs. In particular, Project QUEST, a community-based workforce development program in San Antonio, had higher completion rates than other training programs of similar duration, which the evaluator attributed to the strong support system that Project QUEST provides. An evaluation of the outcomes of participants in three job training programs in Maryland, Missouri, and New Mexico that implement an approach developed by the Center for Working Families (which bundles core services for participants) found that integrated service delivery was associated with the completion of job training or degree programs, as well as job retention and advancement. In all of the programs, the highest achievers were more likely to have received wraparound services, compared with all other participants.

Despite anecdotal evidence and some studies pointing to the importance of wraparound supports for job training participants, little is known about how many job training programs offer supports of different types and which supports best meet the needs of low-income women, who typically have more caregiving responsibilities than comparable men. IWPR recently launched a research initiative to address this gap. “Socioeconomic Supports and Women’s Job Training Success,” seeks to improve knowledge about the landscape of socioeconomic support provision within the U.S. workforce development system and stimulate national dialogue about the importance of these supports in promoting job training success.

Funded by the Walmart Foundation, the initiative will use a variety of research methods—including a literature review, expert interviews, a promising practices study, and online surveys of administrators and participants from job training programs—to gather and examine information on the prevalence of socioeconomic supports in job training programs, their perceived effectiveness, and promising practices in service support delivery. The project will produce a series of research products and hold outreach activities to promote dialogue among program leaders, advocates, policymakers, and workforce development researchers.

The project aims to provide information that can help programs, and the workforce development system as a whole, effectively target their investments in socioeconomic supports. To help with this study, IWPR is seeking input from professionals in the field as well as job training participants. Please contact Rachel Linn if you would like to participate in a survey, as a part of this national study, or have suggestions for programs that are effectively providing socioeconomic supports.

Research News Roundup: July 2015

The Research News Roundup (RNR) is prepared monthly by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Articles contained in each edition of the RNR address research on women’s issues and topics of interest to women and their families. To receive the RNR by email, subscribe or update your subscription settings.


Black Children are Nearly Four Times as Likely as White Children to Live in Poverty, Report Says

By Mark Berman | Washington Post | 7.14.2015

“Black children were nearly four times as likely as white or Asian children to be living in poverty in 2013, according a new Pew Research Center report analyzing Census Bureau data. The poverty rate fell among Hispanic, white and Asian children in 2013, yet even as this rate declined for them, it remained the same for black children. About four in 10 black children were living in poverty in 2013, compared to about three in 10 Hispanic children and one in 10 white or Asian children. Black and Hispanic children are acutely over-represented in terms of child poverty.”

Citing: Black Child Poverty Rate Holds Steady, Even as Other Groups See Declines, by Eileen Patten and Jens Manuel Krogstad, Pew Research Center

Read Full Article | Download PDF

More Than 95% of Women Who Get an Abortion Don’t Regret Their Decision, Even Three Years Later

By Ed Cara | Medical Daily | 7.13.2015

“Fighting back against long-held stereotypes about the inherent shame and grief that supposedly comes with obtaining an abortion, a study published in PLOS-One last week has found that 95 percent of women surveyed felt their abortion was the right choice to make, even when reflecting back on the decision over three years later… ‘Women in this study overwhelmingly felt that the decision was the right one for them: at all time points over three years, 95 percent of participants reported abortion was the right decision, with the typical participant having a greater than 99 percent chance of reporting the abortion decision was right for her,’ the authors concluded. ‘Women also experienced reduced emotional intensity over time: the feelings of relief and happiness experienced shortly after the abortion tended to subside, as did negative emotions. Notably, we found no differences in emotional trajectories or decision rightness between women having earlier versus later procedures.’”

Citing: Decision Rightness and Emotional Responses to Abortion in the United States: A Longitudinal Study, by Corinne H. Rocca, Katrina Kimport , Sarah C. M. Roberts , Heather Gould, John Neuhaus, Diana G. Foster, PLOS-One

Read Full Article | Download PDF

Black Girls Matter: For Too Long, the Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline has Gone Unchecked

By Teresa C. Younger | Huffington Post | 7.10.2015

“The report tells the story of how sexual abuse–which begins for many girls in the juvenile justice system between ages five to seven–directly leads to their imprisonment. Up to 80 percent of girls in the juvenile justice system have been sexually abused. Black girls who have been sexually abused and their Native American and Latina sisters–no matter how young–are not seen as victims. As the report explains, the justice system is plagued with a bias of race, class and gender that results in these young women and girls being seen as perpetrators. Too often the initial choice to punish and incarcerate an abused girl sets in motion a vicious cycle of abuse and imprisonment that continues throughout her life. In fact, a girl with a history of sexual abuse is five times more likely to be re-arrested once released.”

Citing: The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story, by Malika Saada Saar, Rebecca Epstein, Lindsay Rosenthal, and Yasmin Vafa, Human Rights Project for Girls, Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and Ms. Foundation for Women

Read Full Article | Download PDF

Women Less Likely to be Shown Ads for High-Paid Jobs on Google, Study Shows

By Samuel Gibbs | The Guardian | 7.08.2015

“Female job seekers are much less likely to be shown adverts on Google for highly paid jobs than men, researchers have found. The team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon built an automated testing rig called AdFisher that pretended to be a series of male and female job seekers. Their 17,370 fake profiles only visited jobseeker sites and were shown 600,000 adverts which the team tracked and analysed. The authors of the study wrote: ‘In particular, we found that males were shown ads encouraging the seeking of coaching services for high paying jobs more than females.’ One experiment showed that Google displayed adverts for a career coaching service for ‘$200k+’ executive jobs 1,852 times to the male group and only 318 times to the female group.”

Citing: Automated Experiments on Ad Privacy Settings: A Tale of Opacity, Choice, and Discrimination, by Amit Datta, Michael Carl Tschantz, and Anupam Datta, Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Read Full Article | Download PDF

Colorado’s Effort Against Teenage Pregnancies Is a Startling Success

By Sabrina Tavernise | The New York Times | 7.05.2015

Citing: Reducing Unintended Teen Pregnancy in Colorado, by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

“Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest experiments with long-acting birth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them? They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school.”

Read Full Article | Download PDF

Gender, Urbanization, and Democratic Governance

By Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the National Democratic Institute | Institute for Women’s Policy Research | June 2015

With two-thirds of the world’s population predicted to live in urban areas by the year 2050, the global landscape is changing rapidly. Urbanization brings with it numerous benefits, but the growing inequality between and within cities has complicated implications for urban residents, especially for those that have been historically marginalized. For women in particular, accessing the increased social, economic, and political opportunities ostensibly available to them in cities can be, in reality, incredibly difficult to take advantage of.

Download PDF

Raising the Minimum Wage to $12 by 2020 Would Lift Wages for 35 Million American Workers

By David Cooper | Economic Policy Institute | July 2015

“Decades of infrequent and inadequate adjustment to the federal minimum wage have left today’s low-wage workers earning significantly less than their counterparts 50 years ago. Raising the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 would lift wages for one-quarter of American workers and help restore the minimum wage’s role as a labor standard that ensures work is a means to escape poverty, according to EPI economic analyst David Cooper. In Raising the Minimum Wage to $12 by 2020 Would Lift Wages for 35 Million American Workers, Cooper analyzes the impact of the Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Robert ‘Bobby’ Scott’s (D-VA) Raise the Wage Act of 2015, which proposes raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 and gradually eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped workers.”

Download PDF

Raising the Future: Parenting Practices Among Immigrant Mothers

By Julia Gelatt, H. Elizabeth Peters, Heather Koball, and William Monson | Urban Institute | June 2015

To understand how children of immigrants are faring in the United States, it is important to examine contextual factors. In this paper, we analyze family influences; specifically, differences in parenting among immigrant mothers with different national origins, focusing on mothers from Mexico, other Latin American countries, China, and other Asian countries. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, we look at the economic, work, social support, and health contexts in which immigrant families are situated, and at differences in parenting practices. We then explore whether differences in contexts mediate the parenting differences our analyses reveal.

Download PDF

A Policy Agenda for Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

By Center for Global Policy Solutions | Center for Global Policy Solutions | June 2015

“The 200 members of the Experts of Color Network released ‘A Policy Agenda for Closing the Racial Wealth Gap’ today. Black and Latino families hold 6 and 7 cents respectively for every dollar of wealth held by white families. These wide-ranging policies aim to remove structural barriers preventing families of color from attaining economic stability for themselves and future generations. The policies are grouped in seven categories: employment, financial services, entrepreneurship, housing, education, tax policy, and retirement. The document also highlights the importance of targeting policies to address the needs of those most disadvantaged and, in the process, provide positive race-specific results.”

Download PDF

Child Care in America: The 2015 State Fact Sheets

By Child Care Aware of America | Child Care Aware of America | June 2015

“To remain competitive in the 21st-century global economy, the United States must recognize the value of child care as an investment in early childhood education and as a support system for working families. Child Care in America: 2015 State Fact Sheets provides important data to better understand America’s working families and the circumstances they face. As such, it is a critical tool for child care advocates, policymakers and program administrators to guide decision-making about child care programs and costs.”

Download PDF

Top 5 IWPR Findings of 2014

by Jourdin Batchelor

This was an exciting year for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In 2014, we published over 50 reports, fact sheets, and briefing papers. We received more than 1,700 citations in the media and participated in more than 175 speaking engagements. Below are our top 5 findings of 2014 (plus a bonus!). Let us know which one you found most surprising on Twitter or Facebook using #IWPRtop5.

1. Nearly 7 Million Workers in California Lack Paid Sick Days

blog1 (psd)

Earlier this year, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research provided analytic support to help California become the 2nd state in the nation to guarantee paid sick days to  workers who need them.

IWPR’s data analysis found that 44 percent of California’s workers lack access to a single paid sick day. Additionally, access to paid sick days in the state varies widely by race and ethnicity, economic sector, work schedule, occupation, and earnings level. IWPR’s findings were featured in articles published by Bloomberg Businessweek, The New Republic, ThinkProgress, and NPR.

2. Equal pay for working women would cut poverty in half.

Equal Pay_Poverty

IWPR analysis shows that the poverty rate for working women would be cut in half if women were paid the same as comparable men. IWPR’s analysis—prepared for use in The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink and produced with the Center for American Progress—also estimates an increase in U.S. GDP by 2.9 percent in 2012 if women received equal pay.

3. Washington, DC, Ranks Highest for Women’s Employment and Earnings; West Virginia Ranks Lowest

IWPR employment and earnings map

This September, IWPR released a short preview of its forthcoming Status of Women in the States report, featuring material from the chapter on women’s employment and earnings with grades and state rankings. The preview was featured in more than half of the states and received more than 150 press citations, with dedicated articles and reprints of the grades in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and Time.

The analysis found that eight of the top eleven states that received a grade of B or higher are located in the Northeast. In addition to West Virginia, seven of the fourteen lowest ranked states, which received a grade of D+ or lower, are located in the South: Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Wyoming, Idaho, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, and Missouri round out the bottom group.

4. 4.8 Million College Students are Raising Children

single moms

Last month, the Institute’s Student Parent Success Initiative released two fact sheets: one outlining the number of student parents and one that highlights the decline of campus child care even as more parents attend college.

IWPR found that women are 71 percent of all student parents, and single mothers make up 43 percent of the student parent population. Women of color are the most likely students to be raising children while pursuing a postsecondary degree. The research was featured in in-depth pieces by Ylan Q. Mui at The Washington Post and Gillian B. White at The Atlantic, and in popular posts on Quartz, Jezebel, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

5. *Tie* If current trends continue, women will not receive equal pay until 2058 or achieve equal representation in Congress until 2121.

2058  Political Parity Projection

The Institute updated its benchmark fact sheet, The Gender Wage Gap, and calculated that, at the recent rate of progress, the majority of women will not see equal pay during their working lives: a gap will remain until the year 2058. The projection was featured in news stories by The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, The Nation, Forbes, and others.

Another IWPR projection analyzed the current rate of progress in women’s political leadership and found that women in the United States will not have an equal share of seats in Congress until 2121. To address this disparity, IWPR published results from an in-depth study, Building Women’s Political Careers: Strengthening the Pipeline to Higher Office, which details findings from interviews and focus groups with experienced candidates, elected officials, state legislators, and congressional staff members. The projection and the study were featured in The Washington Post, Slate, and TIME.

Bonus: More than half of working women are discouraged or prohibited from discussing pay at work.

pay secrecy facebook

As part of its 2010 Rockefeller survey of women and men following the Great Recession, IWPR found that more than half of working women, including 63 percent of single mothers, are discouraged or prohibited from discussing their pay at work. These data provided the first snapshot of how prevalent pay secrecy is at American workplaces and received renewed attention in 2014 when President Obama signed an executive order in April requiring greater pay transparency among federal contractors. IWPR’s research on pay secrecy was heavily featured in coverage throughout the year, including pieces in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Marie Claire, TIME, Slate, and others, as well as interviews with IWPR experts on NPR’s Morning Edition, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, and PBS NewsHour.

Your still have a chance to make research count for women in 2014. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to IWPR.

Jourdin Batchelor is the Development Associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

When Student Loans are the Only Way to Pay for Child Care

A Student Parent’s Story of Balancing School, Parenthood, and Debt

by Andrea Fitch

Andrea Fitch

Andrea Fitch

I. Deciding to Go Back to School: “We needed to be a dual income family.”

When I first learned I was going to be a parent, I was overwhelmed with a combination of joy and nerves. I was ecstatic to take on the journey of parenthood, but I had not realized the high cost of essentials, such as diapers, formula, strollers, and, especially, child care. I wondered how it would all work out.

I was fortunate to have my husband and father of my children along with me throughout my journey of parenthood. But even with a partner, it was difficult to meet our children’s basic needs. My husband worked a seasonal job in the landscape industry, and being a stay-at-home mother was never an option for me. We needed to be a dual income family. But with both of us working full-time, that also meant we needed to secure full-time child care.

After four years of struggling to pay for basic needs and child care, it became clear that high school degrees and the limited career fields they offered would not be enough. We knew we needed better paying jobs and that the way to achieve this goal was through higher education. With the support of my husband, I began a new journey: obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

II. Going to School Full-Time Still Requires Full-Time Child Care: “My only option was to take out more student loans.”

I reduced my work hours from 40 to 32 per week and started school part-time at a community college. Doing so allowed me to keep our health insurance and maintain our child care spots. But after one year, I was offered a significantly large scholarship that would extend throughout my graduation on the terms that I attend college full-time.

Quitting my job to attend college full-time meant that our monthly income would be dramatically reduced—but we still had the same expenses, including child care. Someone had to watch the kids while I was at school! I supplemented resources using public services such as Medicaid and SNAP. At the time—in 2010, when state economies faced many budget cuts—the Colorado Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) was on a freeze and child care resources were not available. There just wasn’t enough money for all families in Colorado that needed the assistance. I needed to find an alternative way to pay for child care, which at the time averaged about $800 per month through a home care provider.

Although the college I attended had a child care facility on campus, there was a long waiting list and most of the spots were taken by faculty and staff at the university. Furthermore, the cost of the on-campus child care facility, which would have been the most convenient option, was more than our family could afford. My husband’s paychecks went to rent, cars, gas, and other needs public assistance services couldn’t provide. My only option was to take out more in school loans to pay for child care.

The logistics of sorting out child care arrangements were time-consuming and often stressful, but eventually, I found reliable, affordable child care for the kids while I was at school or studying. I was also grateful the kids were not in harm and loved the people they spent time with when I couldn’t be around. I had earned a 4.0 GPA my junior year and made the Dean’s list. Everything seemed to be working out as I progressed through my journey to a degree. This felt like a huge accomplishment for someone who thought a college degree was impossible.

But beyond all this joy lurked a new reality: paying back all the student loan money I borrowed. For two years, I took out additional money from my school loans to pay for child care—and the money was adding up.

III. Dealing with Debt: “Half of my school loan debt was due to child care costs alone.”

By my senior year, I had earned 5 scholarships and various grants, which was enough to fully fund my senior year of college. I was relieved that I didn’t have to take out extra loan money to pay for school fees, but these scholarships and grants did not cover child care. To get through my senior year and graduate, I had to take out more student loans just for child care.

After graduation, I was glad to have achieved a goal that would benefit not only me as an individual, but also benefit my family and our future. A few months later, however, the reality of my student debt began to sink in. My total school loan debt was near $30,000, a rather small amount compared to other graduates, but I still hoped it would be less due to the size of the scholarships and grants I had received. Then I realized that half of my school loan debt was due to child care costs alone. As I stared at the numbers my only thought was, “My school loan debt would be so much less if I didn’t need childcare.” I often wonder how much more freeing it would be for the financial future of my family if I didn’t have that extra debt. The quicker I pay off my student loan debt, the sooner I will be able to better provide for my family.

Although there were several roadblocks along the way, I achieved my goal and am better able to provide for my family because of my education.  But even with a better paying job, I am still overwhelmed when I think about paying off my student loan debt. Loans were essential in paying for school and basic needs when I couldn’t, but it’s a debt that I must pay every month.

Andrea Fitch is a teacher in Colorado.


Learn more about IWPR’s Student Parent Success Initiative, and read the new report, College Affordability for Low-Income Adults: Improving Returns on Investment for Families and Society.


Go to Home Page