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Workforce Development Webinar Offers Sector-Based Solutions for Addressing Employment Disparities by Gender

Two weeks ago, the National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP), an initiative of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, hosted a webinar that offers listeners a sector-based solution for eliminating gender disparities in the workforce.

The webinar, which you can listen to here, features speakers from Workforce Results, Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), and the National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP). Using interactive slideshows, the webinar highlights current employment trends and gender-based workforce inequities. Additionally, the webinar covers the resources, policies, and sector-based solutions available for improving women’s integration and earnings in job sectors, specifically in Green and Non-Traditional Jobs.

Susan Crandall, President of Workforce Results, begins the webinar by looking at how current industry analysis helps explain the significant earnings gap between men and women. According to Crandall, women occupy more low-paying jobs than their male counterparts. High-paying jobs in female-dominated industries, such as healthcare, require much more education than high-paying jobs in male dominated industries, such as construction. This greater demand for education makes it harder for women in female-dominated professions to achieve high-earning salaries. Even with equal access to training opportunities, women continue to make less money than men, because the industries in which most women train and serve pay less than the industries in which men are more likely to train and serve.

Crandall encourages workforce development programs to increase efforts to recruit and expose women to higher-paying jobs in male-dominated industries. In addition, she urges education and skills-development funders to extend grant periods for workers in order to give women a more accurate timeframe to complete training for jobs that require more education.

In addition to these recommendations, Joan Kuriansky, Executive Director from WOW, encourages policy makers to pass proactive legislation that helps women earn equitable pay. Kuriansky talks about four different legislative opportunities that support women’s workforce development: the Workforce Investment Act (WIN), the Women WIN Jobs Act, the SECTORS Act, and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Act (TANF). Additionally, Kuriansky encourages leaders to continue to strive for greater job creation and to improve job quality. One way to create jobs, Kuriansky says, is to pass executive orders that establish new projects or programs, which require the development of new jobs. Improving job quality, she says, includes improving job incentives, such as paid sick leave and healthcare coverage. These incentives encourage women recruitment and job retention.

Finally, Tarecq Amer from NNSP offers workforce development partners a list of guidelines and research tools that help address employment gender disparities. Using resource guides, such as PathWays PA’s Self Sufficiency Standard, Amer encourages workforce development partners to take a realistic look at the costs of basic resources. Understanding a family’s true cost of living helps workforce development partners advocate and secure the work supports needed to help workers transition into higher paying jobs. Additionally, Amer walks listeners through the steps it takes to collect online industry data from the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This data, coupled with Amer’s resource guide suggestions, helps workforce development partners identify the industries in which they hope to improve gender equity.

PathWays PA engages in workforce development through its collaboration with the Delaware County Healthcare Sector Industry Partnership.

For information on free and upcoming webinars from NNSP click on the links below. See links for registration.

Sector Snapshots: Growth and Change in the Sector Field
Thursday, June 17, 2010 - New date!
11:00 AM - noon Pacific / 2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern

Courses to Employment: Sectoral Approaches to Community College-Non-profit Partnerships
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Pacific / 2:00 - 3:30 PM Eastern

-Anna Walker

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/24256351@N04/2701866516 //CC License

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