Weekly Roundup of the news on women and supportive services in job training programs.

By Rachel Linn

Job training can provide an entry into family-sustaining jobs and careers. Many women in job training programs, however, face obstacles to success. Wraparound services—such as child care assistance, access to public benefits, and transportation or housing assistance—can help adults, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, to complete programs that will ultimately improve their economic standing. 

January 5, 2016

The Desert Sun: Coachella Valley Adult School expands services

The adult school leveraged its limited state and federal funding by partnering with County Welfare and Workforce Development programs, dozens of nonprofit organizations and several colleges/ universities and career training programs to help advance the lives of its students. In November, the California Department of Education awarded the Coachella Valley Adult School $457,453 through its Adult Education Block Grant Program to expand and enhance its adult education services. These additional funds are being used to expand and enhance adult education in the east valley including the elimination of educational barriers for students who were unable to attend school because of cost, transportation, or child-care responsibilities. These funds will also be used to establish and enhance career pathways for students seeking employment and opportunities for an increase in wages.

January 4, 2016

Logan Banner (West Virginia): Until FERC approval, 1,000s of pipeline jobs just potential

Workforce development, Gov. Tomblin said, has been a top priority. The Governor hosted the state’s first Workforce Summit in 2015 and, in October, announced an additional $7.6 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to help coal miners affected by layoffs and mine closures take advantage of job training and career. The grant funding provides tuition assistance – up to $5,000 – for classroom and online skills training, supports 25 on-the-job training positions and provides meal, travel and child care allowances for both miners and their families.

January 4, 2016

Bryan County News: Workforce legislation may increase Georgia’s economic opportunity (by Melissa Johnson, a policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute)

Expand access to support services. The federal legislation explicitly allows local workforce-development boards to provide support services and need-based payments to help people to go about their lives while they receive training. Help with child care, transportation and housing is crucial to a person’s ability to participate in training.

Georgia can combine state and federal resources to provide added support services so more people can participate in training. The state can also provide technical assistance to communities to combine various federal funding sources for support services and optimizing their delivery. This could include providing child care at certain hours or particular forms of transportation assistance.

January 3, 2016

Lansing State Journal: McDonald: Michigan’s workforce, future depend on degrees

The faculty and staff of Michigan’s higher education institutions welcome the research, goals, and recommendations outlined in the report: “Reaching for Opportunity: An Action Plan to Increase Michigan’s Postsecondary Credential Attainment.”

The report provides specific recommendations to improve the access and success of adult and other non-traditional students entering higher education institutions.

Career and personal counseling are also critical to these students, as are other support services such as: child care, flexible class schedules, and faculty mentoring in addition to instruction. Many of today’s students have work and family responsibilities and very modest incomes.

December 31, 2015

Duluth News Tribune: Economic expert’s view: Duluth needs solution to worker shortage

Record low unemployment rates mask one of the major opportunities in local workforce development. For many underrepresented populations, unemployment rates are still very high. Often, these populations experience barriers to employment that prevent them from entering the workforce. These barriers include but are not limited to a lack of education, a lack of training, access to transportation, criminal backgrounds and a lack of access to child care. In order to develop our local workforce we must begin to address some of the most prevalent barriers to employment so individuals who want to enter the workforce can do so.

December 23, 2015

Womens eNews: ‘Pre-Apprentice’ Programs Can Break Open Jobs for Women (by Katie Spiker, a federal policy analyst for National Skills Coalition. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a 2015 Ford Public Voices Fellow.)

As an advocate in this area I have also seen with my own eyes how these programs help participants gain skills and confidence and move them along to jobs that transform their own lives and those of their families.

These programs offer training and support services that can put women on the right track to apprenticeship. It could mean basic computer science exposure for someone who may not have had the course in school, and needs it for an IT certificate. It could also mean support figuring out the best way to manage child care for a working mother, or physical fitness training to ensure the woman standing at a computerized numerical control, or CNC machine, has the endurance to do so.

December 18, 2015

San Francisco Chronicle: JobTrain puts low-income people on path to sustainable employment

JobTrain, a 50-year-old nonprofit that grew out of the Civil Rights movement, still focuses on economic equality through a combination of job training, academics and life skills to help disadvantaged people be self-sufficient.

Support takes a lot of forms. Case managers meet individually with each student. Child care, a wellness facility and access to assistance with food and transportation are all offered on site.

This year, JobTrain created a for-profit company to provide on-the-job training for its students. Wise SV (Workforce Integration Social Enterprise), a joint venture with social enterprise CalSo, operates Rendezvous Cafe & Catering in Redwood Shores. It may add manufacturing and staffing components in the future.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org