Debate Question Sparks National Conversation about Women in the Workforce

African-American mother carries groceries into home where two kids waitThe question of the evening during the debate last Tuesday, as often times is the case, came not from a senior citizen wise with experience or a veteran who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.  It came from one of the youngest people in the audience to ask a question that night, 24-year-old Pre-K teacher Katherine Fenton, who asked about women in the workforce.

The Recession hit many Americans hard, even if they didn’t lose their jobs.  Prices for food, gas, and healthcare have risen while wages have remained stagnant. For most families this squeeze would be difficult enough, but for women and specifically single mothers, it is particularly difficult.

Nearly 15 million U.S. households, three in five, are headed by women.  Despite being the sole providers, the National Partnership for Women and Families reports that more than 29 percent of women live below the poverty level and the median yearly pay for women in the United States is $10,784 less than that of men.

We understand these challenges.  Goodwill® has proven expertise in helping women translate their skills and talents to the labor market with career pathway plans that improve employability, earnings potential and economic stability.  Goodwill has been a leader in helping women with children move up the socioeconomic ladder with soft- and occupational-skills training; job placement, retention and advancement services; and holistic, whole-family wrap-around services to become stable and to succeed economically.

That’s why we are particularly proud to have been awarded a $7.7 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to strengthen our effort to help women find and keep good jobs.  Through this grant, Goodwill Industries International will expand a pilot program to help women who are unemployed or underemployed in up to 49 communities across the United States.   The Walmart Foundation funding is expected to help improve the lives of 12,250 women in the United States with job training and placement through the Beyond Jobs program.

By focusing on women in need, Goodwill fulfills its mission of serving a diverse group of people with low incomes and financial challenges, which include minority populations, persons re-entering the community from incarceration, veterans and others — helping them launch careers and move towards earning self-sustaining wages.