Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pass the American Jobs Act and Put Women Back to Work

How do we resolve the current economic impasse? We put Americans to work, men and women. That will require a Herculean effort on the part of our leaders to catalyze job creation. As millions of Americans continue to look for meaningful employment, the President has put forward The American Jobs Act, a blueprint for getting Americans back to work, and we look to Congress to act quickly on this legislation.

Women are facing increasing unemployment rates and older women are facing higher rates of long-term unemployment. Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) finds the “Pathways Back to Work Initiative” particularly encouraging because it includes employment and job training opportunities that create needed entry points for women of all ages, especially for those who are low-income workers.

Job training programs have proven to be successful in fighting unemployment. In the past year, programs like those proposed have helped put more than 4 million Americans back to work. These investments can continue to assist unemployed Americans, particularly women, get back to work with good jobs that pay higher wages and provide economic security for their families. Targeting funds toward enhancing opportunities for women and other under-represented groups by training women in non-traditional fields like construction and encouraging entrepreneurship among the long-term unemployed will ensure that we build an economy that lifts everybody, not just a few.

Take Gloria Morrison, for example. After juggling part-time jobs since high school as a security officer, sales manager, pizza deliverer and martial arts instructor, her part-time work dried up, and she sank into a depression because she was unable to find work. WOW’s Building Futures job training program for un- and underemployed residents in Washington, DC helped Gloria build new skills in marketable, middle-income work. Now she’s part of an apprenticeship program that is not only a job, but the first step on a career ladder that will provide her both job and economic security.

The President’s plan gives hope that we can move forward with investments in our economy that will be both innovative and effective, and we call on Congress to move now to pass this plan.

Donna Addkison
Wider Opportunities for Women