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

Job Training Success Project

About the Job Training Success Project

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—especially those with caregiving responsibilities—to complete job training programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing. Little is currently known, however, 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 and higher poverty rates than comparable men.

The Job Training Success Project seeks to improve knowledge about access to socioeconomic supports among women participating in job training programs, the need for different types of supports, and how these supports are delivered. The project’s main goals are to:

1)  Gather and examine evidence from a range of sources to explore the prevalence of socioeconomic supports in job training and their perceived effectiveness from the perspectives of job training participants and administrators,

2)  Identify promising practices in socioeconomic support service delivery,

3)  Initiate a national dialogue on socioeconomic supports and their effectiveness among program leaders, policymakers, advocates, and workforce development researchers; and

4)  Promote a broader understanding of how socioeconomic supports may contribute to women’s success in job training programs.

This multi-method research project will produce a series of publications based on a review of published literature on the prevalence, delivery mechanisms, and outcomes of socioeconomic support services; interviews with experts from relevant government agencies, nonprofit organizations, community colleges, job training programs, and foundations; online surveys of job training program administrators and participants; an analysis of available data on job training programs; and an analysis of promising practices for effectively providing socioeconomic supports.

IWPR plans to release seven products based on the research and will hold events and webinars throughout the project to initiate dialogue about the effective use of socioeconomic supports. These research products and outreach activities will provide information that can help programs, and the workforce development system as a whole, effectively target their investments in socioeconomic supports. The project is made possible through generous funding from the Walmart Foundation.

Project Team

Advisory Committee

Job Training Success Project Advisory Committee

Read the Latest Updates on Women in Job Training & Supportive Services

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of November 29, 2016

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of November 14, 2016

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of November 7, 2016

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of October 31, 2016

Job Training and Support Services In-The-News: Week of October 24, 2016

To see more Job Training and Support Services In-The-News, click here.

Additional Resources on Women in the Workforce and the Role of Social Supports

Leveraging Highway Funds to Support Women in Construction

Power Point presentation on improving women’s access to training and employment in transportation industries at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions Conference.

Supporting Student Parent Success in Community Colleges

Power Point presentation from Women's Funding Network Conference workshop "Powerful Partnerships: Foundations and Community Colleges".

Research & Policy Update: Student Parents & Access to Child Care at Community Colleges

Power Point presentation from Student Parent Support Symposium session on "Current Student Parent Research & Policy Efforts"

Status of Women in the States: 2015: Work and Family Chapter

See data on childcare access and affordability in all 50 states and the District of Columbia including:

Status of Women in the States: 2015: Employment and Earnings Chapter

See data on the gender differences across occupations and industries for all 50 states and the District of Columbia including:

Latest Reports from IWPR

Supportive Services in Workforce Development Programs: Administrator Perspectives on Availability and Unmet Needs
by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., Emma Williams-Baron, Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Ariane Hegewisch, M.Phil. (December 2016)

This report presents findings from a national, online survey of 168 administrators of job training and career and technical education programs. It examines administrators’ perspectives on the role of supportive services such as child care and transportation assistance in improving program completion, the availability of supportive services across different types of training programs, the unmet support needs of job training participants, and sources of funding and cost-effective strategies for providing supportive services. The report was informed by expert interviews on the need for supportive services in the workforce development system and promising models for providing these services. It is the second report of a larger Institute for Women’s Policy Research project that is funded by the Walmart Foundation. The first report in the series, Supportive Services in Job Training and Education: A Research Review, presents findings from a review and analysis of literature on the importance, effectiveness, and availability of supportive services for participants in job training programs in the United States.


Supportive Services in Job Training and Education: A Research Review
by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., Yana Mayayeva, Lindsey Reichlin, and Mala Thakur (November 2016)

This report presents findings from a review and analysis of literature on the importance, effectiveness, and availability of support services for participants in job training programs in the United States. It assesses current knowledge about these services by examining reports on training and education programs, as well as literature on the importance of supportive services for low-income individuals in general. The report also examines the availability of supportive services in the workforce development system, funding sources for these services, and common barriers to employment and training—such as lack of access to child care, transportation, and stable housing—that these supports can address. The report was informed by interviews with 25 experts on workforce development and supportive services. It is a part of a larger Institute for Women’s Policy Research project on the role of supportive services in promoting job training and employment success that is funded by the Walmart Foundation.


Pathways to Equity: Narrowing the Wage Gap by Improving Women’s Access to Good Middle-Skill Jobs
by Ariane Hegewisch Marc Bendick Jr., Ph.D. Barbara Gault, Ph.D. Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. (March 2016)

This report addresses women’s access to well-paid, growing, middle-skill jobs (jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree). It documents sex segregation in middle-skill jobs, and discusses how gender integration of good jobs could both reduce skill-shortages and improve women’s economic security. The report focuses on middle-skilled “target” occupations in manufacturing, information technology, and transportation, distribution, and logistics that have high projected job openings and that typically employ few women. Using an innovative methodology based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net database, Marc Bendick, Ph.D., of Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc, joined IWPR researchers Ariane Hegewisch, Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. to identify lower paid predominantly female occupations that share many of the characteristics of the “target” occupations and can serve as “on-ramp” occupations to good middle-skill jobs for women seeking to improve their earnings, and employers looking to fill the vacancies. The report is part of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Pathways to Equity: Women and Good Jobs initiative, funded by a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation as part of its of its $250 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative. For more information, visit


Untapped Resources, Untapped Labor Pool: Using Federal Highway Funds to Prepare Women for Careers in Construction
by Ariane Hegewisch, Jane Henrici, Elyse Shaw, and Thomas Hooper (December 2014)

Women are underrepresented in highway, street, and bridge construction where employment is projected to grow by more than 20 percent until 2022. Creating sustainable pathways into construction careers fills critical hiring needs for industry while improving economic security for women, as these jobs typically provide family-supporting wages with good benefits. Activities to improve women’s recruitment and retention in skilled construction jobs are widely known, but dedicated funding for such activities is scarce. Federal highway funding offers states a stable resource that can support activities that improve women’s entry into and success in the construction trades. This briefing highlights examples of how two states, Maryland and Oregon, are using this funding to improve diversity in the highway construction workforce. The paper begins by discussing the lack of gender diversity in the construction workforce, describes the challenges and proven strategies for improving the pipeline into construction jobs for women, and outlines how federal highway dollars can be used to improve the diversity of this workforce by funding on-the-job training and support services. The briefing paper is based on a review of literature, pre-apprenticeship state-level evaluations and progress reports, and interviews with key stakeholders from Oregon, the tradeswomen community, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.


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.


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.


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
Preview not available

The Workforce Investment Act and Women's Progress: Does WIA Funded Training Reinforce Sex Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap?
by Ariane Hegewisch and Helen Luyri (January 2010)

#C372, Briefing Paper, 8 pages

Working First But Working Poor: The Need for Education & Training Following Welfare Reform
by Cynthia Negrey, Ph.D., Stacie Golin, Ph.D., Sunhwa Lee, Ph.D., Holly Mead, Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (August 2001)

This report presents findings of an exploratory study about job training for low-income people, particularly women leaving welfare. Data are from in-depth structured interviews conducted from November 1999 to July 2000 with 67 welfare case managers, vocational counselors, job training administrators, and job training instructors in seven cities nationwide. The report also discusses results from telephone interviews conducted during the autumn of 2000 with 163 students drawn from community colleges and other job training organizations where staff participated in our study.

#D443, Executive Summary, 20 pages
Document Actions
Go to Home Page