Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), along with 20 of their colleagues, today introduced the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act in an effort to fight gender inequity in the workplace and give low-income women a pathway out of poverty. This legislation will be offered as an amendment tomorrow, Wednesday, March 6th at the Education and the Workforce Full Committee mark up of H.R. 803, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, which will reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to create a more effective and accountable workforce development system.
"This bill marks an important step forward in expanding career opportunities for women in Colorado and across the country," said Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2). "From green energy to construction to manufacturing, women are underrepresented in many of today's most important occupations for no other reason than a lack of opportunities for job training. I'm pleased to join with my colleagues to support funding to help recruit, train and place women in traditionally male-dominated occupations that they are more than qualified for. By partnering with community-based organizations, educational institutions and local businesses, Women WIN Jobs Act will expand job opportunities for all Americans and enable our nation to develop a diverse workforce capable of competing at the highest levels of the 21st-century global economy."
"This legislation will strengthen our economic recovery by investing in women who have long been relegated to lower-paying jobs," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3). "Through public-private partnerships, we will give women the tools they need to better provide for their families and contribute to our economy. The Women WIN Jobs Act will help America's women better their lives, families, and communities."
"The Women WIN Jobs Act will greatly boost the ability of low-income women and girls to reach a higher level of economic security than they otherwise would," said Shawn McMahon, Acting CEO and President of Wider Opportunities for Women. "It also will help employers in these fields replace the 10,000 skilled workers they are losing each day to the retirement of the baby-boomers."
The Women WIN Jobs Act would help recruit, prepare, place and retain women in high-demand, high-wage nontraditional jobs. Through a new federal grant program that will support innovative partnerships in each and every state, this bill will enable women to become self-sufficient and earn more while simultaneously boosting our nation's economy. Despite the recession, employers in several industries are facing severe shortages of skilled workers to fill the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs of the future -- from information technology and the building trades, to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Today women represent half of our nation's workforce, but two-thirds of working women are concentrated in only 5% of occupational categories, most of which are among the lowest paid occupations, except for teaching and nursing. Nontraditional jobs--those in which women comprise 25% or less of employees--pay 20-30% more than traditionally female jobs, but only 6.2% of women are employed in these occupations.
Other original co-sponsors of this legislation include: Reps. John Conyers, Diana DeGette, Raúl Grijalva, Gwen Moore, Eleanor Holmes-Norton, James Langevin, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Corrine Brown, Albio Sires, Earl Blumenauer, Lucille Roybal-Allard, John Lewis, Frederica Wilson, Alcee Hastings, Louise Slaughter, Keith Ellison, John Garamendi, David Cicilline, Jim Moran and Maxine Waters.
H.R. 803, the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: Wider Opportunities for Women; Association for Career and Technical Education; Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs; Center for Women Policy Studies; Chicago Women in Trades; Coalition of Labor Union Women; Community Action Partnership; Legal Momentum; Moore Community House Women in Construction Program; National Alliance of Partnerships in Equity; National Transitional Jobs Network; National Women's Law Center; Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.; Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; Vermont Works for Women; West Virginia Women Work; Women's City Club of New York; American Association of University Women; Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; National Council of Women's Organizations; Community Action Partnership; The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium; The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.