U.S. Department of Labor Announces Dr. Laurie Todd-Smith as Director of the Women's Bureau

News Release, October 28, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor announced that Dr. Laurie Todd-Smith is now the Director of the Department's Women Bureau.

"Dr. Laurie Todd-Smith has dedicated her life to delivering crucial workforce education in her community," said U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia. "As we approach the 100-year celebration of the Women's Bureau, Dr. Todd-Smith will play a leading role in shaping our continued efforts to help women enter and succeed in the American workforce."

A former Executive Director of the State Workforce Investment Board and State Early Childhood Advisory Council in Mississippi, Dr. Todd-Smith played a leading role in the creation of the Family-Based Unified and Integrated State Plan. She also served as a Senior Education Policy Advisor to Governor Phil Bryant and was an adjunct faculty member and researcher at Mississippi State University. Dr. Todd-Smith started her career as an elementary school teacher.

Dr. Todd-Smith has a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University, M.Ed. from Western New Mexico University, and a B.A. from the University of Arizona.

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The Time Is Now for Women to Embrace Apprenticeships and Nontraditional Occupations

by Erica Clayton Wright on October 4, 2019

When we talk about women in the workplace, we often overlook the women who build our homes, our schools, and our roads. These women are construction workers, ironworkers, plumbers, and electricians. They have taken on occupations that require extraordinary grit and perseverance. They keep our economy running and growing while caring for their families.

This weekend, more than 2,000 extraordinary tradeswomen from across the country will gather in Minneapolis for the annual TradesWomen Build Nations conference – the largest conference of its kind in North America.

While the vast majority of these tradeswomen find themselves in nontraditional occupations – that is, occupations where women comprise less than 25% of those employed – these are occupations where women find opportunities for greater empowerment, advancement, and career and financial stability. As they break barriers in their fields these women also play a critical role in the development of the next generation by serving as role models for all women not just the next generation of women workers.

Our current economic climate is also providing women with unprecedented opportunities. However, the number of job openings remains high – 7.2 million in July 2019. Businesses report that one of the biggest issues they face is the skills gap – workers not trained and equipped to fill their open positions.

At the Women’s Bureau within the U.S. Department of Labor, we want to help empower women to seize these by creating more pathways for success. To achieve this, apprenticeships must expand. Apprenticeships are a reliable pathway to well-paid careers in the trades and in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs. Apprenticeships create a win-win situation for women, their families, and our nation’s economy. They also serve as a way to upskill and launch successful careers regardless of their stage in life, education level, or previous work experience while earning an income.

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Helping Women Affected by the Opioid Crisis Through Sustainable Employment

by Erica Clayton Wright on October 2, 2019

In 2017, an estimated 5.2 million American women struggled with opioid misuse and nearly 1 million were classified as having opioid use disorder. While the consequences of the opioid crisis are well documented, one frequently overlooked issue is the impact on employment – particularly for women – and the broader effects on households and communities.

Beyond just breaking opioid dependency, the indirect effects of the crisis include the loss of employment and earnings, as well as situations involving guardianship of children removed from their families because of substance abuse or the loss of a breadwinner’s income. These circumstances often result in greater financial tolls on women, who then may need help re-entering the workforce to provide for themselves and their families.

With this in mind, the Women’s Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor launched a new grant program to help women affected by the opioid crisis re-enter the workforce and obtain good jobs. A total of $2.5 million in Re-Employment, Support, and Training for the Opioid Related Epidemic (RESTORE) grants have been awarded to five nonprofit organizations that provide women with employment-focused services and skills development.

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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award of Grants to Help Women Affected by the Opioid Crisis Re-enter Workforce

News Release, September 30, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded nearly $1.5 million in WANTO grant funding to organizations in Illinois, Virginia, and Wisconsin to help recruit, train, and retain more women in quality pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.

Learn more about RESTORE and 2019 grantees
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Breaking down barriers for women in workforce

Op-ed by Erica Clayton Wright, Acting Director of Women's Bureau. Published in Lancaster Online on September 2, 2019.

On Labor Day, we celebrated what the American dream is truly about — dignity of work and the liberty to pursue happiness. We also celebrated the contributions that America’s workforce has made toward the growth and prosperity of our nation.

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USDOL Awards Nearly $1.5 Million to Increase Apprenticeship Participation, Expand Job Opportunities for American Women

August 28, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded nearly $1.5 million in WANTO grant funding to organizations in Illinois, Virginia, and Wisconsin to help recruit, train, and retain more women in quality pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.

Learn more about WANTO and 2019 grantees
See news release
Read FAQs

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $2.5 Million to Support Women Affected by Opioid Crisis

News Release, July 24, 2019

On July 24, the Women’s Bureau announced a new grant program to help women affected by the opioid crisis re-enter the workforce. The Re-Employment, Support, and Training for the Opioid Related Epidemic (RESTORE) grant will award $2.5 million to organizations that assist in providing coordinated, employment-focused services to women.

See news release
Apply here by August 23, 2019
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DOL's Women's Bureau: 99 Years of Creating Opportunity

by Erica Clayton Wright on June 5, 2019

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. Established just two months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the Women’s Bureau is the only federal agency tasked with focusing exclusively on working women by safeguarding their interests, advocating for their equality and economic security, and promoting quality work environments. This year's celebration comes during a time of unprecedented opportunity for all American workers, and especially women.

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Women's History Month: Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, Envisioning the Future

by Dr. Patricia Greene on March 1, 2019

During Women’s History Month we honor the female trailblazers of the past, celebrate the achievements of women today, and envision a future of opportunities that knows no bounds.

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Ninety-Eight Years Later: Empowerment in the 21st Century Workforce

by Dr. Patricia Greene on June 5, 2018

President Trump’s Administration is working to help all Americans access good, family-sustaining jobs. At the Women’s Bureau, we are focused on empowering women to thrive in all aspects of America’s dynamic economy.

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Celebrating and Supporting America’s Hardworking Mothers

by Dr. Patricia Greene on May 11, 2018

Celebrating mothers across the United States who are shaping our current and future workforce.

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Honoring Oleta Crain, an American Hero

by Marzy Bedford-Billinghurst on February 8, 2018

Oleta Lawanda Crain (1913-2007) joined the Women’s Army Auxillary Corp (WAAC) in 1942.

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From Apprenticeship to Mentorship

by Eric R. Lucero on December 20, 2017

Charmaine Davis, the Women’s Bureau regional administrator in Atlanta, knows young women need role models like Beatrice to show them the way.

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Apprenticeship Helps Montana Woman Keep the Lights On

by Leo Kay on November 21, 2017

Only 3 percent – or 23,000 – of the estimated 774,000 electricians working in the country are women. Sierra Smith is one of them, thanks to hard work, determination, and an assist from Montana’s apprenticeship program.

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By the Numbers: Hispanic Women in the Workforce

by Tracie Sanchez on October 13, 2017

In recognition of Hispanic women’s significant contributions to the labor force, here are six statistics demonstrating their growing influence as drivers of economic productivity and entrepreneurs.

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5 Facts About Working Women and Retirement

by Tiffany Boiman, Mark Connor on September 18, 2017

Ensuring women’s economic security through retirement can, and should, start early − and we have resources to help.

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Celebrating 97 Years of Advocacy for Working Women

by Tracie Sanchez on June 5, 2017

First created during World War I to study women’s employment during and after the war, the Women’s Bureau became a permanent federal government fixture in 1920.

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By the Numbers: Happy Mother’s Day!

by Liana Christin Landivar on May 12, 2017

Seventy percent of mothers with kids under the age of 18 are in the labor force.

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A History of Achievements

by Michelle Vaca on May 30, 2017

There are many examples of AAPI women that have made remarkable contributions to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields.

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Trailblazing Women in STEM

by Joan Harrigan-Farrelly on March 21, 2017

During National Women’s History Month, with the 2017 theme of “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business,” we recognize trailblazing work being done to bring more women into these fields.

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Crossing the Finish Line

by Joan Harrigan-Farrelly on February 24, 2017

At the Women’s Bureau, we work to ensure that “the finish line” is within reach of all workers regardless of gender. This story offers several lessons that continue to have relevance for today’s working women.

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