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DOL's Strategic Plan - Live Q&A Session with WB - Static Page

This chat about the DOL Strategic Plan was held on Thursday, April 15 at 2:45 p.m. EDT EDT with WB.

2:41 Moderator: Welcome! We'll be starting our chat at 2:45, but you can submit your questions at any time and they'll go into a queue. You won't see the questions until they are answered by the Women's Bureau. This is a text-only chat, so there will be no audio or video.

2:45 Dir. Sara Manzano-Díaz: Good Afternoon. I am Sara Manzano-DĂ­az, Director of the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. I would like to thank you for joining me today for this Web chat and I am looking forward to hearing from Women’s Bureau stakeholders as we develop our strategic plan for 2010-2016. This is an important process for our agency, and we need your help in shaping our agenda to meet the needs of working women today and in the future. Today we will hear your ideas and thoughts, and answer questions related to the agenda for the Women’s Bureau. We look forward to collaborating with Federal, state, and local agencies, nonprofit organizations, service providers and others in promoting policies, providing technical assistance and conducting outreach activities that will prepare women for good jobs, ensure fair compensation, and assure fair and high quality work-life environments. For more information about the Women’s Bureau and our existing initiatives please visit www.dol.gov/wb .

2:48 Comment From Barbara Cox: Given the demographic shifts in the US since the target percentages for women and minorities were established, will the targets for federal mega projects be revised upward?

2:48 Sara: Hi, Barbara. Great question! The Women's Bureau will be working with our federal counterparts to increase participation of women and minorities in their projects.

2:49 Comment From Maria M: How will you find the homeless women veterans since they do not have permanent addresses? Why not open it up to all homeless women?

2:49 Sara: Maria, the Women's Bureau is very fortunate to have 10 regional offices that work closely with community-based organizations. Working with those organizations, we are able to make contact with homeless women vets.

2:51 Comment From D: Good afternoon -- many thanks. I am wondering if there will any changes made to your contracting processes as a result of the strategic planning process? i.e., removing the requirement of a for-profit intermediary for delivery of services or products when/if a non-profit has the experience and capacity to complete the work? Again, best wishes -- we appreciate the leadership of the WB.

2:51 Sarah: D. Thank you for your question and your comment. The Bureau must follow the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) in its contracting. We will work closely with our procurement office to ensure that we follow the rules and that contracts are awarded in accordance with the FAR.

2:52 Comment From Debbie Frett: Thank you for holding this webchat! I am Deborah Frett CEO of Business and Professional Women’s Foundation. BPW Foundation is am evidence based research and education organization that partners to create successful workplaces that practice and embrace diversity, equity and work-life balance – all of which are on the WB’s agenda. We encourage the WB to explore public-private partnerships in reaching its goals. We have been leaders in 40 year old fight for equal pay and hope the agency will throw its weight behind the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. We are also supporters of a broad definition of work-life balance and hope the WB includes paid sick days, paid parental leave, workplace flexibility, affordable child care, affordable health care and retirement security as necessary tools in the quest for work-life balance. BPW Foundation supports workforce development programs that recognize the diverse needs of working women, communities and businesses. We have been working on women in the green economy through our Moving from Red to Green: Working Women in the Green Economy initiative which is exploring women's demand for green jobs and how to ensure that they are recruited, trained and retained in the sustainable jobs of the future. And last but not least BPW Foundation is the first organization to research women veterans transitioning from active duty to the civilian workforce and how to ensure their successful re-entry and advancement in the workplace.

2:52 Sara: Hi, Deborah. Thank you for sharing with all of us the great work that the Business and Professional Women's Foundation has done to create successful workplaces. The Women's Bureau is looking for ways in which we can partner with our stakeholders and there will be opportunities to explore our intersections in the future. Sara

2:53 Comment From Alexandra Torres Galancid: The next year will be very critical for this administration, as you face major issues of providing adequate measures for gender equity in all the Economic Stimulus dollars giving to WIA programs, apprenticeships and others. I would like to encourage you to place strong language in these RFP’s & contracts to guarantee that women will not continue to be left behind, it is time for change and for the “good faith efforts” to become good faith results.

2:53 Sarah: Alexandra, thank you very much for your comment and suggestion and we will look into this as we move forward.

2:54 Comment From Adam Zimmerman: What activities are planned for the administration's Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, and will the Women's Bureau be participating in those endeavors?

2:54 Sara: Adam, the Women's Bureau concern about the wages of working women goes back as its creation. The Bureau's concern about the wages of working women also ties in with the Secretary of Labor's vision of good jobs for everyone, which includes ensuring fair compensation.

The President annouced the establishment of this taskforce to improve compliance, public education and enforcement of equal pay laws. DOL is a member of this taskforce along with representatives with other federal agencies. The Women's Bureau will work closely with the office of federal contract compliance programs to achieve the goals of this taskforce as one of the OFCCP's goals is to dramatically increase enforcement in this area.

Thank you for your question.

2:55 Comment From Elizabeth Thompson: "Green" jobs are talked about a lot here in Michigan. Will the plan adress "green" jobs?

2:55 Sara: Thanks for the question, Elizabeth. The Women's Bureau has created a three-prong approach for working with green jobs for women. The bureau held 30 roundtables earlier this year and, as a result, created nine green training projects. Also, we are working on "A Woman's Guide to Green Jobs," which will be published in the fall. Please see our Web site at www.dol.gov/wb for more information.

2:55 Comment From Krysta Jones: A major priority for the American Psychological Association is workplace flexibility. Can you talk about how DOL plans to integrate this in the Strategic Plan?

2:55 Sara: Thank you, Krysta. That's a great question. The Women's Bureau is helping businesses create or expand workplace flexibility policies and programs for their workforces. Last month the Bureau assisted in organizing the White House forum on workplace flexibility. We brought together CEO's, academics and actual employees to discuss everything from barriers to best practices in workplace flexibility. We plan on conducting further roundtables on the topic throughout the year.

2:56 Comment From Kathy Bayert: Can you provide any additional detail around the tactics you are considering to achieve the strategic goals you've identified?

2:56 Sara: Kathy, we are looking forward to hearing comments from stakeholders and next week we will be meeting with our regional adminstrators to firm up our strategy.

2:57 Comment From Deirdre: As incoming branch president for the San Francisco American Association of University Women, what can we do to support your efforts in the West?

2:57 Sara: Thank you Deirdre for that question. The Women's Bureau has 10 regional offices. In addition to collaborating with national groups our regions will be working with regional stakeholders to promote our priorities. Our four priorities are pay equity, work life balance, homeless women veterans and green, non-traditional and STEM jobs.

2:58 Comment From Jennifer Hill: What are your plans for working with or on behalf of domestic workers?

2:59 Sara: Great question, Jennifer. As you probably know the majority of domestic workers are women, and in this area of work there is a severe lack of regulations and safeguards. We are committed to the needs of these and other underrepresented communities and are in the process of collecting information and recommendations on how the Department of Labor can implement policies and standards to assist this critical population.

2:59 Comment From Dolores: The Women's Bureau is interested in narrowing the wage gap between men and wonen. A huge impediment to equal pay is company policy preventing employees from talking about their salaries. Can WB work to change company mandates that keep employees from speaking freely about their salaries?

2:59 Sara: Thank you for your question, Dolores. The Women's Bureau will be working with the rest of the Department of Labor and the President to ensure that all employees receive equal pay for similar work. The passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was the first step toward ensuring fair pay for women.

2:59 Comment From Bonnie Coffey: As President of NACW, the National Association of Commissions for Women, we, too, look forward to partnering with the Women's Bureau.

2:59 Sara: Thank you. We look forward to working with you, too.

3:00 Comment From Diane Turner-Bowker: With regards to measurement of success, you've said that you will assess the number of policy outputs, adoptions, and implementations...will you assess and monitor the actual increases in women's employment, transitions to higher paying jobs, average salary increases, and other more proximal variables?

3:01 Sara: Diane, we will assess and monitor how federal, state and local agencies, and service providers, adopt and implement policies and strategies proposed by the Women's Bureau.

3:01 Comment From Theresa Copeland: I am a woman business owner providing technical assistance to businesses in the form of management, accounting and tax services. I have been in business only a few months. Will the Woman's Bureau be a resource for me to turn to in the event that I am descriminated against in obtaining contracts with the government?

3:01 Sara: Theresa, thank you for your question. The Women's Bureau can provide technical assistance in directing you to resources where you may find information concerning your rights in this area.

3:01 Comment From Mary McRae: Will the possibility for programming/funding for young adult women, more specifically 18-24 year olds who are school dropouts, parents, etc. be a priority?

3:01 Sara: Mary, thank you that is a good question. One of our focuses is to help girls and young women succeed, so yes in all of our activities we will work to make sure that we incorporate young adult women.

3:02 Comment From Phillis Basile: Hi--I am a voice from the past--one of the original 4 regional representatives under Esther Peterson and the proud organizer of the first Status of Women Conferences in CA . I just want to comment that your goal statement is the heart of the Women's Bureau work--and it is dramatic that you have found ways to reach out directly to so many groups. We may not have reached our goals--but you are certainly on the way!

3:02 Sara: Thank you Phillis for your service in the Women's Bureau. I believe that we rest on the shoulders of the great women leaders that came before us like Esther Peterson and yourself. Therefore, I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you to learn from you about the great history of the Women's Bureau.

3:02 Comment From Anna: Does the Bureau have any plans to address access to jobs and pay equity for women living with disabilities?

3:02 Sara: Anna, we plan to work closely with our sister agency Office of Disability Employment Policy on issues such as pay equity and work place flexibility.

3:05 Comment From Jennifer Fraone: How does the DOL plan to continue the momentum and excitement created at the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility? We have heard about the potential for regional meetings, but not any details. Thank you!

3:05 Sara: Thanks Jennifer...The Bureau played a key role in organizing the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. Since 2003, the Women's Bureau's Flex Options project served a similiar purpose in bringing together local employers across the country through several teleconference calls and regional events. We plan to use the expertise and relationships we gained from this project along with the great work of the White House to continue this conversation in the next year. We hope to have more details on these regional events in the next couple of months.

3:06 Comment From Guest: What are the Department's strategic plans for homeless female veterans?

3:06 Sara: Thanks for your question. Homeless female veterans will be one of the key areas the Women's Bureau will focus on. It is unconscionable that women veterans end up in homeless shelters or on the streets. The Women's Bureau conducted Homeless Women Veterans Listening Sessions in six states and will be working with other agencies to improve services for homeless women veterans and other women veterans at risk of becoming homeless.

3:06 Comment From Jennifer Hill: The National Domestic Workers Alliance and each member-group would like to partner with the Women's Bureau also. It is particularly important that the Women's Bureau have a presence among vulnerable populations and in states, like Florida, where there is no state labor department.

3:06 Sara: Jennifer,

Thank you for the work you do to safe guard the rights of Domestic Workers. I believe that the Women's Bureau will play an important role in addressing vulnerable populations. I look forward to our continued dialogue.

3:07 Comment From Jessica Glenn: Thanks so much for this opportunity! I’m Jessica Glenn with Workplace Flexibility 2010. We wanted to ask how you think the Women’s Bureau could work with other departments within DOL to create a robust workplace flexibility agenda – including FMLA enforcement, technical assistance and public education, federal contracting, disability employment, and data collection?

3:07 Sara: Thank you, Jessica, for your question. The Women's Bureau is currently working with the Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to further ODEP's Customized Employment initiative. Customized employment is a unique program that focuses on making work accommodations for any individual who has difficulties with standard work arrangements. In the near future, the Women's Bureau will produce publications on its Web site that explore various avenues of workplace flexibility. You may read about our Flex-Options project at flexoptions.org.

3:07 Comment From Greg Jacob: SWAN (Service Women's Action Network) has HWV outreach programs in place here in NYC, and look forward to partnering with the women's Bureau in the coming year.

3:07 Sara: Greg, thank you. Improving services for homeless women veterans is one of our top priorities. We look forward to looking into future colaborations.

3:08 Comment From Connie Ashbrook: Thank you very much to the Women's Bureau for your support and advocacy for working women. As Oregon Tradewomen works to help more women vets get into the skilled trades, especially those that are part of the emerging green economy, we would like to see a highly visible women's initiative for military women.

3:08 Sara: Connie, you are right on target. One of our four priority issues is working with women in the military. We are working closely with our sister agency VETS to meet this need.

3:12 Comment From Vivian Ortiz: Referring back to the 18-24 year olds who are dropping out; is there possibilities to partnering with schools on implementing some of the initiatives?

3:12 Sara: Vivian, my vision for the Women's Bureau is to empower all working women nationwide to achieve economic security. Inner city girls are dropping out of some schools at a 50% rate. In a 21st Century world we cannot afford to lose our future workforce. I work closely with Assistance Secretary of Employment and Training, Jane Oates to provide opportunities for young girls to enter Job Corp and recieve training through Youth Build.

3:12 Comment From Scott: The DOL-WB previously funded a project in Northern Arizona to assist Native American Women to start or expand artisan and other culture-based micro-businesses. Is micro-business development by women an area DOL-WB will focus on in the future?

3:12 Sara: Scott, the Arizonia project was a great success in assisting Native American women to start their own small businesses. In alignment with our strategic plan my priorities are to promote good jobs for women especially geen jobs, non-traditional jobs and STEM occupations; to promote workplace flexibility; to narrow the wage gap between many women and to improve services for homeless women veterans.

3:12 Comment From Connie Ashbrook: We were glad to see in the Women's Bureau's Strategies that you will be conducting research and analysis to identify and validate effective policies. Will you also be looking at the data of the number of women in apprenticeship programs and doing analysis, and making that information available to the public?

3:12 Sara: Thank you for your question, Connie. Yes, the Women's Bureau is very focused on data collection and analysis. Based on the data that are available, we will look into the possibility of reviewing the data on women in apprenticeship programs, including women of color. We will work with ETA in reviewing the data.

3:13 Comment From Meg Vasey: Our organization, Tradeswomen, Inc., works closely with the Women's Bureau in increasing access and success for women in the non-tradtional trades and we deeply appreciate the commitment of the WOmen's Bureau. We also applaud the DOL's overall strategic planning process and have a few comments. Overall Goal #1: please include equal access at initial entry to good jobs: we need to end the segregation of expectations that hold women back.

3:13 Comment From Amy Brenengen: I think your priorities are excellent - and they mirror much of the work going on in the states. I direct the Office on the Economic Status of Women in Minnesota - and I am interested also in how you will include the economic status of older women in these priorities?

3:13 Sara: Meg, thanks for your question. I agree. I am so glad you shared this information.

3:13 Sara: Amy, thank you for your question. The Women's Bureau will include older women, as well as young women and teenage girls, in our priorities. We currently have a fact sheet titled Older Women Workers, ages 55 and older at www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/Qf-olderworkers55-08.htm . Diversity will be a main ingredient in all that the Women's Bureau does during this administration. It is our intention to include women of all age groups in our program activities.

3:14 Comment From Jennifer Hill: Is the women's bureau exploring certification of U visas for women subjected to workplace-based crimes?

3:14 Sara: Jennifer, thanks for your question. The Secretary of Labor recently annouced that DOL will start certifying U Visas through the Wage and Hour division. Please visit the DOL press releases section for more information.

3:14 Comment From Marionette Ball: Will the agency provide a public forum in different cities allowing stakeholders and community leaders to meet and strategize.

3:14 Sara: Marionette, the Women's Bureau is a unique agency in that we have ten regional offices across the country. We will be reaching out to stakeholders and community leaders nation-wide. Please see the Women's Bureau regional list on our Web site to contact the office nearest you.

3:16 Moderator: What a lively bunch! The Director is receiving more questions and comments than she'll be able to answer in the remaining 15 minutes, but keep sending them and we will provide Women's Bureau with a complete list of all of your questions and comments.

3:16 Comment From Patty Tanji: We have a very active group in Minneapolis working with pay equity. Do you have any plans to visit Minneapolis in the near future?

3:16 Sara: Patty, I am working on visiting all of the regions. I encourage you to contact Regional Administrator Nancy Chen at 312-353-6985 to propose the possibility of a meeting on pay equity.

3:17 Comment From Maria Malayter: Will you have any focus on women returning to the workforce or older women workers? We at the Center for Positive Aging at National-Louis University are working on this issue currently and hope we can help you.

3:17 Sara: Thank you for your great question, Maria. My vision for the Women's Bureau is to empower all working women nationwide to achieve economic security. Whether you are returning to the workforce or an older worker, green jobs are a way for women to get into higher paying occupations. The Women's Bureau will be publishing in the fall "A Women's Guide to Green Jobs" and we are holding periodic conference calls on this subject. Please check our web site.

3:17 Comment From Deirdre: Thank you for this Forum!!

3:17 Comment From Martha Rohlfing: I am particularly interested in financial literacy among working women. Are there any plans for providing expansion of financial education in the workplace so women can better utilize their hard-earned dollars and be more likely to utilize employee benefits, such as 401(k)s. receive fin

3:17 Sara: Martha, we are translating our Wi$eUp curriculum into spanish and plan to hold educational forums throughout the country. If you would like to learn more about the Wi$eUp program, go to http://www.dol.gov/wb/programs/initiatives2010.htm.

3:18 Comment From Sherry Ingram: This is a terrific idea. Thanks for asking for input from We the People!!

3:18 Comment From Gail Coppage: Hi! Representing the Connecticut Community College System where over 63% of our students are female, we are appreciative of your efforts and are hopeful that we can work together with the Women's Bureau in innovative ways to share the good efforts and knowledge that you bring to all of us, especially those of us in higher education.

3:18 Sara: Gail, thanks so much. We would love to work with you. I encourage you to contact our Boston Regional Office and Jackie Cooke at 617-565-1988 to discuss opportunities to collaborate.

3:18 Comment From Yvonne Wood: Thanks for the Forum. It is a good way to communicate and see what other states are doing as well.

3:18 Comment From Lisa Spickers, PR: Are there any plans to provide your programs Flex Option in Spanish for Puerto Rico's Employers?

3:19 Sara: Lisa, thank you for your interest in the Flex Option project. Currently, there are no plans to produce Flex Options documents in Spanish. The Flex Options Web site is still available at www.flexoptions.org

3:19 Comment From Donn Miller-Kermani: Girls appear to lose interest in the STEM set of skills around 8th grade. Will the WB be conducting any type of programs which might assist in keeping girls engaged in the STEM disciplines?

3:19 Sara: Thanks for the question Donn. Encouraging girls to enter STEM occupations is one of my priorities. So yes, we will be conducting programs on this topic in the future.

3:19 Comment From Christine P: How are you proposing to address your goal of providing workplace flexibility for family and personal care-giving.

3:19 Sara: Christine: Thank you for your question. We will be using multiple approaches, such as promoting family-friendly practices across the country through regional events, collecting data on employees' use of time working in partnership with BLS to inform and improve policies, and the Wage and Hour Division will continue its enforcement of the FMLA.

3:19 Comment From Lisa Spickers, PR: What iniaciatives the WB currently have on young women, (ie high school) to get education in order for them to get a better job?

3:19 Sara: Hello Lisa, I am asking all my staff to include junior and highschool students and all activities and events we host.

3:21 Sara: Thank you Yvonne. The Women's Bureau woukd love to see the research you are doing.

3:21 Comment From Yvonne Wood: The Tennessee Economic Council on Women is doing research this year that will be available in October 2010 on Wage Equity. We will be pleased to share the data with the WB.

3:22 Comment From Lisa Spickers, PR: I want to congratulate you for having this tool available to comunicate with you! I recently had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Grace Protos, and we had a wonderful time sharing with her our experience from Women in Puerto Rico! THANK YOU! Keep it Up!

3:22 Comment From Heidi Hartmann: Hello Sara--it is so great you are doing this. I am also delighted to hear that the Women's Bureau will renew its commitment to evidence-based research. We at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the premier research institute in the country focused on policy issues of importance to women, stand ready to help you!

3:25 Comment From Lonna Szczesny: A special thanks to the Women's Bureau for supporting advancing women in the workplace. Our Minneapolis program, Women In Transition, began 30 years ago with a one year grant from DOL. We have now served nearly 10,000 women. Our United Way project is focusing on financial literacy and we have tied a wage advancement model to asset building strategies to move working-poor single mothers away from poverty permanently. Are there any plans to focus on financial literacy for women?

3:25 Sara: Lonna, The Women's Bureau has developed Wi$eUp a financial education project targeted to Gen X and Y women. It is a eight module curriculum we offer online as well as in the classroom set. The curriculum is available online at www.wiseupwomen.org.

We will also be offering a spanish language version curriculum online later this summer. Thanks...

3:25 Comment From Alexandra Torres Galancid: As you know, despite efforts to level the working field for women, they remain disproportionately underemployed in construction & building trades and other non-traditional careers where jobs are plentiful and wages are livable. Women In Non Traditional Employment Roles, Inc. (W.I.N.T.E.R.) seeks to fill this gap, and since its incorporation in 1996, the agency has been driven by a mission that recognizes this critical need. What are the plans to help the construction and building trades apprenticeships to level the field for women?

3:25 Sara: Thanks for your question. Last month the Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hosted a meeting of heads of tradeswomen's organizations and policy experts to brainstorm ways to increase women's employment in these nontraditional occupations. This was only a first step as the Women's Bureau is tasked with developing innovative ways to not only recruit more young women into these professions and to step-up enforcement through the OFCCP of affirmative action among federal contractors.

3:25 Comment From Deirdre: AAUW's Tech Trek, Girls Inc. Eureka, and Expanding Your Horizons are 3 of many programs to keep an eye on with regard to STEM and middle school girls. I'd love to see a supportive program for the graduates.

3:25 Sara: Thank you, Deirdre. Can you please send the information about this program and your interest in supportive programs for graduates to regional administrator Betty Lock at 206.553.1534.

3:26 Comment From Liz Watson: I'm Liz Watson, from Workplace Flexibility 2010. One of the DOL’s big priorities is improving wages and working conditions for low-wage workers. What role do you see for workplace flexibility in furthering that goal?

3:26 Sara: Liz, thank you for asking that question. Workplace flexibility is one of my four priorities. Nearly 50 percent of today's workforce is women. Given that reality the Women's Bureau is helping businesses create or expand workplace flexibility policies and programs for their workforces. Last month, the Bureau played a key role in organizing the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. We brought together CEOs, government officials, academics, and actual employees to discuss everything from barriers to best practices in workplace flexibility. We plan on conducting further roundtables on the topic throughout the year.

3:26 Comment From Joan Goddard (in CA): Excellent technology for this sharing and asking. Having the times along the side is great and especially good to be able to scroll back up to catch or review what one missed along the way as the Q&A are added quickly sometimes.

3:27 Comment From Jennifer Hill: How are you reaching low-income immigrant women? I have not seen or heard anything about women's bureau outreach in the South. How do immigrant women and their advocates have input?

3:27 Sara: Jennifer, if you have ideas on how we can increase outreach to low income immigrant women in the South, please contact Paulette Lewis, the Women's Bureau Administrator in Atlanta. Her telephone number is 404/562-2336.

3:27 Comment From Kimberly Phipps-Nichol: Can we hope/expect to see more/better coordination/support between WB and the SBA, especially for women owning businesses within the STEM parameters and with disadvantaged/8a designations?

3:28 Sara: Thanks for your question, Kimberly. Absolutely. We know that we are woefully behind the goals set out in several women's procurement initiatives. We hope to forge a very strong relationship with SBA and other federal agencies to figure out how to dramatically increase a number of women business contractors.

3:28 Comment From Donn Miller-Kermani: Junior Achievement has many wonderful programs designed for students at K-12 and could provide a wonderful synergy with these initiatives as they already have access to many schools around the country. Have you thought about partnering with them on any of the initiatives?

3:28 Sara: Thank you, Donn. Mentoring girls and young women is one of my priorities because they are the future workforce. Please send information about your program to Furia.Karen@dol.gov.

3:28 Comment From Wendy Love: Will the Women's Bureau be an advocate throughout all the activities of the Dept of Labor that gender-specific data/statistics be kept for federal, state, local agencies and service providers. (a simple case in point, Vermont does not keep unemployment data by gender although they do keep gender-specific employment/wage data by industry sector. Really difficult to see how women are doing in the recession) I don't see how you are going to measure proximal outcomes as one of the earlier participants without such data.

3:28 Sara: Wendy, thank you for your question. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does collect statistical data on the employment status of women by state. The Census Bureau does collect labor force data for Statistical Metropolitan Areas throughout the US by gender. Historical labor force data can be found from both of these federal sources-- www.bls.gov and www.census.gov .

3:29 Comment From CARMEN COSME: HELLO! I'M CARMEN COSME. I'M THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ONE STOP CAREER CENTER OF PUERTO RICO, INC. THIS PAST APRIL 7TH WE HELPED YOUR DEPARMENT TO REALIZE ONE OF THE ROUNDTABLES HERE IN SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO. I WANTED TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REAFIRM OUR COMPROMISE IN HELPING YOUR DEPARMENT TO GET TO KNOW THE NEEDS OF PUERTO RICO'S WORKING WOMEN. I'VE BEEN WORKING WITH MRS. GRACE PROTOS FROM PRECINT 2. I'M THANKFUL FOR THIS OPORTUNITY AND I HOPE WE CAN HAVE THE CHANCE TO KEEP WORKING TOGETHER TO IMPROVE THE NEEDS OF THE WORKING WOMEN IN PUERTO RICO. I'M ENTIRELY AT YOUR DISPOSITION.

3:29 Sara: Thank you, Carmen.

3:30 Comment From Joan Goddard (in CA): The term "pay equity" includes equal pay for comparable work (i.e. women's work paid comparably with men's work, not just "equal Pay for equal work" -- we hope that education about "comparable worth" can be an element of the WB work, along the lines of the Fair Pay Act which has been in Congress for quite a few years.

3:30 Sara: Thanks for the comment, Joan. As Equal Pay Day draws near, we will be sure to discuss this issue. One of my priority issues is pay equity and be assured I will look into this issue.

3:30 Comment From Kathy Bayert: Like Diane, I'm curious about the measurement aspect of your plan. You seem to focus on measuring the process rather than truly measuring outcomes. How will you know if your efforts are indeed "moving the needle" for women in the workplace? What measures can we in the business community aim for as we begin to implement policies?

3:30 Sara: Kathy, thanks for your question. As the Womens' Bureau moves towards a policy focus, we have restructured our strategic plan. For the next two years the Bureau will focus on output measures, and after that we will move towards outcome measures. We will implement a "look-back" model starting in FY 2013.

3:31 Comment From Terri Sandu: HHW in Ohio is very interested in knowing how we can help serve women veterans. It has been challenging to find the right contact(s) to know where to begin. Thank you for any way WB can help us serve our female vets!

3:31 Sara: Terri, thank you for your question. Working to support women veterans is a critical goal of Secretary Solis and the Women's Bureau. Last fall, we held several listening sessions with homeless women vets and service providers and we will be working closely with DOL's VETS and the VA Women's Division on ensuring there is a pipeline for women vets to good jobs.

3:31 Comment From Ma.Cristina C. Caballero: I asked earlier whether immigrant women who are new in the workforce would find their way into the women's bureau for their specific concerns when beginning to access government.

3:31 Comment From Ma.Cristina C. Caballero: Sara, Congratulations you know that Dialogue on Diversity in its 18 years of existnece is willing to be of service to you in our work with diverse womens groups in the US and internationally. God bless!

3:31 Sara: Ma.Cristina, thank you for kind "best wishes." The Women's Bureau also has an international component. I have had the pleasure to host various international delegations and the Bureau is willing to help all women including recent immigrants.

3:31 Comment From Maria Malayter: Sara & Nancy; On behalf of Alpha Sigma Alpha National Sorority, we would love to have you stop in at our national leadership convention in Indianapolis this summer. Nancy Chen attended our last event and it was really beneficial to see the wide age range of attendees. We hope you will join us. www.alphasigmaalpha.org

3:31 Sara: Maria, Please send your information about your event to Holandez.Rose@dol.gov.

3:32 Comment From Francoise Jacobsohn: Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to discuss the Women's Bureau strategic plan. Legal Momentum, the Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund, has centered our work on women's economic security. We are very pleased that you are working to both prepare workers for good jobs as well as assuring fair and high quality work-life environments. Our experience with traditionally male dominated jobs - including green jobs - is that along with training women for these jobs, the enforcement of equal opportunity regulations in the training programs and on the work site is crucial to avoid creating a revolving door with women entering and leaving those jobs almost at the same rate. Are you planning on putting equal resources for both training and equal opportunity oversight at the workplace?

3:32 Sara: Francoise, thank you for your question. I am looking forward to looking closely with my counterparts at Legal Momentum to make sure that we can leverage our resources to provide women with training and equal opportunity in the workplace.

3:32 Sara: This has been a very valuable experience. It has been so exciting to hear from all of you. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. Next week, I will personally share this rich information with my management team, including my regional administrators, as we refine our strategic plan. Please take a moment to review the presentation slideshow about WB provided at http://www.dol.gov/strategicplan2010 and submit your ideas to strategic-plan@dol.gov . It is important that we hear from you as we work to empower all working women to achieve economic security.