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Education &Training

About Education & Training

Education is the gateway to opportunity, with well-educated, well-trained workers needed to fill most positions in the current economy. The best path to a job that pays a living wage capable of sustaining a family is through postsecondary education.

Given the existing gender wage gap, educational attainment is especially crucial for women, as women need more education to reach the same average income levels as men. There are also gaps in education along race lines:  30% of white women—compared to 19.4% of African American women and 13.7% of Hispanic women—hold Bachelor’s degrees (American Council on Education, 2011).

Recognizing the necessity of higher education in increasing women’s earning power, IWPR’s Student Parent Success Initiative (SPSI) seeks to improve access and graduation for low-income student parents—particularly mothers—in college settings. Specifically, through a combination of research and outreach activities that aim to encourage information-sharing, educate leaders and policy makers, and improve public policies and resources, SPSI works to raise awareness about both the challenges and promise represented by parents seeking postsecondary degrees.

     

      Resources

      Student Parent Success Initiative

      Report: Increasing Opportunities for Low-Income Women and Student Parents in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at Community Colleges

      Women’s Education and Economic Opportunity: The Role of Literacy, IWPR event co-hosted with the National Coalition for Literacy

      Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success Initiative

      Also visit our external resources page for more information on this topic.

      To see our experts on this and other initiatives, click here.

      Latest Reports from IWPR

      4.8 Million College Students are Raising Children
      by Barbara Gault, Lindsey Reichlin, Elizabeth Reynolds, and Meghan Froehner (November 2014)

      Over a quarter (26 percent) of all undergraduate students, or 4.8 million students, are raising dependent children. Women are disproportionately likely to be balancing college and parenthood, many without the support of a spouse or partner. Women make up 71 percent of all student parents, and roughly 2 million students, or 43 percent of the total student parent population, are single mothers. Single student fathers make up 11 percent of the student parent population.

       

      Campus Child Care Declining Even As Growing Numbers of Parents Attend College
      by Barbara Gault, Lindsey Reichlin, Elizabeth Reynolds, and Meghan Froehner (November 2014)

      Affordable, reliable child care is a crucial support for the 4.8 million college students raising dependent children, but is often tough to find. High child care costs, difficulty obtaining subsidies, and scheduling challenges often create significant obstacles for student parents, and may contribute to their relatively low rates of college completion. Postsecondary systems can play an important role in promoting college success by helping student parents locate and pay for the child care they need to succeed in school

       

      Women in Construction and the Economic Recovery: Results from 2013 IWPR Tradeswomen Survey
      by Ariane Hegewisch and Brigid O'Farrell (August 2014)

      This research-in-brief draws on the 2013 IWPR Tradeswomen Survey, an exploratory survey on the opportunities and challenges for women working in construction trades. The survey yielded responses from 219 U.S.-based tradeswomen from 33 states and presents a mixed picture for women in construction. While many respondents are earning good wages, unemployment and underemployment are still high. The majority of respondents report that they feel largely treated equally to men, yet far too many report unequal treatment in hiring, training, assignments, and promotions. Three in ten respondents report high levels of harassment. Fewer than five respondents in total reported having learned about opportunities in the trades through school or career counselors. These findings suggest that contractors, labor unions, and the government are failing to recruit, train, and ensure a safe workplace free of harassment for many women.

       

      Community College Students Need Fair Job Scheduling Practices
      by Lindsey Reichlin, Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (July 2014)

      Working is often critical to community college students’ ability to pursue a postsecondary education, but holding a job while in school can threaten a student’s success in college. For students to succeed at both school and work, they need jobs with predictable schedules and they need to have a say in scheduling so that work does not conflict with classes. This is especially important for students who are also parents, who must often schedule child care in addition to work and school.

       

      Securing a Better Future: A Portrait of Female Students in Mississippi’s Community Colleges
      by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., Sylvia Krohn, Lindsey Reichlin, Stephanie Román, and Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (June 2014)

      This report presents findings from a survey of female community college students in Mississippi conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and commissioned by the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. The survey is designed to identify supports and practices that can help women succeed in community college and attain economic security. It explores women’s motivations for pursuing college, their personal and career goals, their support needs, and the economic, health, and time challenges that they experience. The survey was designed as a part of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Student Parent Success Initiative, which provides information and tools to promote the success of student parents in postsecondary education.

       

      College Affordability for Low-Income Adults: Improving Returns on Investment for Families and Society
      by Barbara Gault, Ph.D., Lindsey Reichlin, M.A., Stephanie Román (April 2014)

      This report was prepared by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) as a part of a series of papers on defining college affordability sponsored by the Lumina Foundation. The report examines how efforts to understand and improve college affordability can be informed by the experiences and circumstances of low-income adults, students of color, and students with dependent children.

       

      Accelerating Change for Women Faculty of Color in STEM: Policy, Action, and Collaboration
      by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Youngmin Yi (November 2013)

      This report is part of a project to address the underrepresentation of women faculty of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) led by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). It summarizes highlights from a convening held in May 2013 that brought together nearly 50 experts, including professors, academic administrators, and representatives of government, professional societies, the corporate sector, and women’s organizations. It addresses the barriers that make it difficult for women faculty of color to advance in STEM fields, key programmatic and policy shifts that would promote their success, and strategies for implementing promising changes and taking them to scale. The convening and report are part of IWPR’s research on education and training, which includes early care and education, girls’ experiences in the K-12 system, postsecondary attainment, and high-quality workforce development opportunities for STEM and other careers. IWPR’s recent research in this area includes a profile of programs at community colleges designed to engage women in STEM fields, as well as reports exploring pedagogical methods to increase women’s participation in engineering.

       

      Defining College Affordability for Low-Income Adults
      by Barbara Gault (November 2013)

      PowerPoint presentation on "Defining College Affordability for low-income adults: Improving returns on investment for families and society" prepared for the Lumina Foundation's Authors Conference.

       

      Financing Child Care for College Student Success
      by Todd Boressoff (June 2013)

      This toolkit provides information about a wide range of funding sources for campus-based child care. It is intended as a resource for early care and education programs, institutions of higher learning, advocates, and policymakers. In addition to descriptions of each resource, it contains over a hundred links to websites of relevant organizations. It is designed as a guide for those seeking to provide quality child care for colleges and university students, considering how to strengthen and expand existing services, or hoping to build networks of support for students with children and other parents on campus.

      #G719, Toolkit, 44 pages
      $10.00
      Quantity:

      Investing in Success: How Quality Early Child Care, Education, and Workforce Training Improve the Well-Being of Girls and Women
      by Holly Firlein, Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Bethany Nelson (May 2013)

      Recognizing that education is the gateway to opportunity, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has been a significant source of research on education and training, including work on early care and education, girls' experiences in the K-12 system, high quality workforce development opportunities, and postsecondary attainment. Its work has explored the importance of education for improving women's earnings, the importance of access to quality early care and education for mothers’ labor force outcomes, methods for improving job quality among early care and education providers, the role of child care in spurring and sustaining economic development, the importance of low-income women's access to postsecondary education as a poverty reduction tool, strategies for increasing the success of student parents in college through providing child care and other supports, and inceasing women's representation in higher paying, traditionally male careers such as in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

       

      Education Data Show Gender Gap in Career Preparation
      by National Coalition of Women and Girls in Education and the National Coalition on Women, Jobs and Job Training (March 2013)

      This report was prepared as a summary of an analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the National Women’s Law Center, and Wider Opportunities for Women, under the auspices of the National Coalition of Women and Girls in Education and the National Coalition on Women, Jobs and Job Training.

       
      Preview not available

      The Pregnancy Assistance Fund as a Support for Student Parents in Postsecondary Education
      by Rhiana Gunn-Wright (July 2012)

       

      Community College Partnerships for Student and Career Success: Program Profile of Carreras en Salud
      by Jane Henrici, Ph.D. (June 2012)

      Postsecondary students with children often need an array of supports to succeed in their studies, which can require significant coordination among new and existing services (Conway, Blair, and Helmer 2012; Henrici n.d.; Miller, Gault, and Thorman 2011). Such supports might include financial aid, academic and career counseling, job placement assistance, transportation, housing, child care, and classes in English-as-a-Second Language. To more effectively provide an expanded range of student resources, community colleges often partner with local nonprofits, private businesses and foundations, and government institutions (Altstadt 2011; Bragg et al. 2007; Bray, Painter, and Rosen 2011; Conway, Blair, and Helmer 2012; Leutz 2007; Singh 2007; Wilson 2010). This fact sheet describes Carreras en Salud (“Careers in Health”), a career pathway program that scholars and advocates have elevated as a promising model for providing comprehensive supports through multiple partnerships with city colleges in Chicago.

       
      Preview not available

      Community College Partnerships for Student and Career Success: Program Profile of Carreras en Salud
      by Jane Henrici, Ph. D. (June 2012)

       

      Gender Segregation in Fields of Study at Community Colleges and Implications for Future Earnings
      by Layla Moughari, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, and Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (May 2012)

      Postsecondary education yields myriad benefits, including increased earnings potential, higher lifetime wages, and access to quality jobs. But postsecondary degrees are not all equalin the benefits they bring to students and women tend to obtain degrees in fields with lower earnings. Women with associate degrees earn approximately 75 percent of what men with associate degrees earn (U.S. Department of Commerce and the Executive Office of the President, 2011). This wage gap occurs in part because women with AA degrees—like women at all degree levels—often work in lower-paid, female-dominated occupations (Hegewisch, et al. 2010).

       
      Preview not available

      Housing Resources and Programs for Single Student Parents at Community and Technical Colleges
      by Abby Thorman, Ph.D, Jessica Otto, and Rhiana Gunn-Wright (April 2012)

       
      Preview not available

      Gender Segregation in Fields of Study at Community Colleges and Implications for Future Earnings
      by Layla Moughari, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, and Barbara Gault, Ph. D (April 2012)

       

      Tools for Student Parent Success: Varieties of Campus Child Care
      by Todd Boressoff (March 2012)

      This toolkit is the first in a series by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). It introduces the wide variety of child care services that exist at institutions of higher learning. Rather than an exhaustive study of campus child care programs, it is an introduction to possible options. It is for those seeking to provide quality child care at colleges or universities and for those considering how to expand or rethink existing services.

      #C393, Toolkit, 19 pages
      $10.00
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      Increasing Opportunities for Low-Income Women and Student Parents in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at Community Colleges
      by Cynthia B. Costello, Ph.D (March 2012)

      Drawing on a literature and program review, analysis of publicly available data, and consultations with experts in the field, this report examines opportunities for women and student parents to pursue and succeed in STEM fields at community colleges.

      #C388, Report, 81 pages
      $15.00
      Quantity:

      Low Literacy Means Lower Earnings, Especially for Women
      by Jennifer Herard, Kevin Miller, Ph.D., Jane Henrici, Ph.D., and Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (February 2012)

      Appropriate literacy levels are crucial for both men and women seeking education and employment opportunities, but low literacy skills disproportionally hurt women’s chances of earning a sustaining wage.

       
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