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Leading on paid leave

Posted on June 17, 2016 at 11:21 AM EDT

Valerie Davis, WB; Kelley Johnson, Office of Apprenticeship; Dolores Bischof, WB; DeBorah Whaley-Stephenson, 50+ Program Coordinator, Brookhaven College; Dawn Gomez, Career Services Coordinator, North Lake College; Grace Protos, regional administrator, WB.

Continuing its series of discussions on local responses to paid family leave, during the week of June 6 the Women’s Bureau hosted roundtables in New York, Washington state and New Jersey. At the June 8 roundtable in New York City, advocates, employers and state administrators discussed anticipated implementation challenges, strategies for maximizing take-up rates, and ways to make paid leave more accessible to workers providing eldercare. Seattle-based advocates, state legislators, union leaders and public health practitioners met on June 9 to discuss challenges to and strategies for financing and improving the 2007 law. On June 10, stakeholders gathered in New Brunswick, N.J, to discuss benchmarks for success, outreach and education strategies, and potential improvements to the paid leave program. More local paid leave discussions are planned in Hartford, Conn., Providence, R.I., New Castle, Del., and Pittsburgh, Pa., later this month.


Resources for older women workers

Posted on June 01, 2016 at 11:42 AM EDT

Valerie Davis, WB; Kelley Johnson, Office of Apprenticeship; Dolores Bischof, WB; DeBorah Whaley-Stephenson, 50+ Program Coordinator, Brookhaven College; Dawn Gomez, Career Services Coordinator, North Lake College; Grace Protos, regional administrator, WB.

In order to address some of the workplace challenges faced by older women workers, the Women’s Bureau collaborated with Dallas County Community College District, the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, the Federal Trade Commission and several local service providers to present a series of conferences titled, “50+Women2Work: Ready, Set, Employed.” More than 100 women learned about free or low-cost training for in-demand jobs offered by the community colleges, apprenticeship opportunities, job search best practices, and the basics of starting their own business. The events, in recognition of Older Americans Month, were held May 13, 18 and 19, and took place at Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, Texas; North Lake College in Irving, Texas; and Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas; respectively.


Parental leave and millennials

Posted on May 20, 2016 at 11:14 AM EDT

(from left) Jennifer Sabatini Fraone with Boston College Center; Angela Rizzolo, WB; Jackie Cooke, regional administrator, WB and Gillian Gutierrez, WB.

The Women’s Bureau co-hosted a roundtable called “Parental Leave and Millennials: Meeting the Work-Family Needs of Today’s Workforce” on May 17, with the Center for Work & Family of Boston College at Tufts Health Plan, in Watertown, Ma. Representatives from 35 small and large companies had the opportunity to share their motivations for creating parental leave policies and discuss the impact it has had on millennial workforce recruitment and retainment. They also engaged in a dialogue about their processes of creating or enhancing the parental leave policies.


Introducing young women to non-traditional occupations

Posted on May 20, 2016 at 11:11 AM EDT

Women firefighters from the city of Portland Fire and Rescue conduct a hands-on pipe-patching demonstration.

More than 600 girls, women and parents attended the Women in Trades Career Fair at the National Electrical Contractors Association/International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Training Center in Portland, Oregon on May 14. The Women’s Bureau provided information on careers in transportation, construction and protective services as well as the Women Build, Protect and Move America portal on the Women’s Bureau’s website. The Career Fair organized by Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., NECA-IBEW, and other trades organizations served to introduce girls and women to higher paying non-traditional occupations. More than 76 employers representing construction companies, building trades and other non-traditional occupations for women offered information about their companies and unique hands-on workshops.


Bringing more women into apprenticeships

Posted on May 03, 2016 at 12:41 AM EDT

Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Pronita Gupta.

Department of Labor staff joined state and local leaders at the California Conference on Apprenticeship in Monterey recently to explore ways to improve the quality of apprenticeship programs through a balance of policies, education and collaboration. The conference featured a workshop on Women in Apprenticeship, led by Women’s Bureau Regional Administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz and grantee Meg Vasey, executive director of Tradeswomen Inc. Office of Apprenticeship Regional Director Patty Garcia led a session focusing on college credits for apprentices and articulation agreements between community colleges and apprenticeship, while Director John Ladd discussed the economic benefit of expanding the apprenticeship model to new industries in advanced manufacturing, information technology and health care. In 2014, women comprised just 7 percent of registered apprentices in the United States.


Paid leave dialogue

Posted on April 26, 2016 at 11:02 AM EDT

Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Pronita Gupta.

Expanding access to paid leave is not just important for families, it’s critical to sustained economic growth. On April 14, Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Pronita Gupta joined the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law and New America’s Better Life Lab for a conversation about the need for a national paid leave program, lessons learned from other countries, and strategies for implementation of paid leave policies. Pulling from the World Bank Group’s most recent Women, Business and the Law report and using the combined expertise of local, national and world experts, the panel highlighted the importance of paid leave in encouraging women’s labor force participation. Hosted by the New America Foundation, the event aimed to build support and action for a comprehensive paid leave program. Gupta discussed the cost to workers, families, businesses and the nation of doing nothing on paid leave. “Sixty percent of workers without fully paid leave reported difficulty making ends meet, and many reported putting off paying bills, drawing down savings and cutting leave short,” said Gupta.


Equal pay discussions on both coasts

Posted on April 11, 2016 at 12:41 PM EDT

(left to right) Mallory Trachtenberg, program analyst, Women’s Bureau; Nadine Verna, director of Career Leadership & Development, Columbia University School of Social Work; Phoebe Taubman, senior staff attorney at A Better Balance; Grace Protos, regional administrator, WB; and Grace Ahrens, intern, WB.

The Women’s Bureau, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs brought the topic of equal pay to an audience of lawyers and human resource professionals in New York City on April 5. Grace Protos, Women’s Bureau regional administrator, moderated a panel that included representatives from PowHer, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York City Law Department. Michael Rojas, EEOC program analyst, moderated the second panel that addressed current policy initiatives, unconscious bias and occupational segregation. The following day, the Women’s Bureau hosted an event for graduate students at the Columbia University School of Social Work, highlighting pay transparency and providing background on recent state laws that affect women in the workforce. Also on April 6, in California, equal pay was the main topic of discussion at a meeting of the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women. “The commissioners are concerned that the growing number of homeless women and senior women living in poverty is linked to lower wages for women,” said Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, regional administrator in San Francisco. “The commission is actively working to create solutions that prevent these problems. Addressing the wage gap is one of the strongest initiatives to improve economic self-sufficiency for women.”


$1.9M to Expand Apprenticeships

Posted on April 07, 2016 at 11:52 AM EDT

Picture of construction tools representing the apprenticeship press release.

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $1.9 million grant competition to recruit, train and retain women in high-skill occupations, such as advanced manufacturing, transportation, energy, construction and information technology. The Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations program will fund the grants. Read News Release


A pioneer for women

Posted on March 31, 2016 at 11:52 AM EDT

Picture Author Marlene Trestman.

With her distinguished service at the Department of Labor from 1939 to 1972, Bessie Margolin was a trailblazer for advancing women in the legal profession. On March 22, the Women’s Bureau acknowledged Margolin’s work as a New Deal attorney and Supreme Court advocate during a Women’s History Month event in Washington, D.C. The gathering featured biographer Marlene Trestman, who highlighted Margolin’s efforts to propel the child labor, minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 through the nation’s highest courts. Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Pronita Gupta and Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith delivered remarks to more than 50 attendees. “For us, Bessie Margolin is the gold standard in so many ways – as a career civil servant, as a lawyer and oral advocate, an equal opportunity perfectionist, and as a role model for women and men alike,” said Smith.


Resources on equal pay

Posted on March 31, 2016 at 11:54 AM EDT

(left to right) Brandon Dula, Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy Office at University of Maryland College Park; Nasreen Baten-Tschan, UMCP; Rose Holandez, Region IV Women’s Bureau; Mandla Dunn, UMCP; and Mary Tiernan, EEOC .

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Women’s Bureau collaborated with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy office on the campus of the University of Maryland – College Park for an equal pay presentation March 23. Rose Holandez, acting regional administrator for the Philadelphia office, conducted a presentation on aspects of the wage gap, resources on equal pay, and the efforts of the Women’s Bureau and the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force. Mary Tiernan, program analyst for the EEOC, provided information and answered questions on what qualifies as gender-based pay discrimination and best practices for seeking assistance from the EEOC and the department.


Honoring Women in Public Service: Mary Anderson

Posted on March 29, 2016 at 11:23 AM EDT

Picture of Esther Peterson.

Director (1920-1944) Mary Anderson had many years of first-hand experience in the very types of menial and blue-collar employment that more privileged progressives studied. At age 16 she immigrated to the United States from an impoverished Swedish farm. After six years of household work in three different states she eventually found better paid work as an operative in Chicago footwear factories where she faced the typical problems of factory workers: long hours, low wages, malfunctioning machinery, mandatory overtime, and unpredictable layoffs. Down-to-earth and plain-spoken, with accented English and limited formal education, she related easily to the working class, often immigrant, women she sought to organize and guide in union activity. As a labor negotiator for the National Women’s Trade Union League she organized educational and leadership programs for young female workers by convening conferences and maintaining the overseas labor associations.


Honoring Women in Public Service: Esther Peterson

Posted on March 22, 2016 at 12:14 PM EDT

Picture of Esther Peterson.

Director (1961-1964) Esther Peterson, who had a background in education, labor and women's affairs, broadened support and heightened visibility for the Women's Bureau and women's issues as a whole. Her efforts were instrumental in creating the President's Commission on the Status of Women and in passing the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Peterson increased the Women’s Bureau outreach to a broad grassroots constituency, hosting conferences and hearings across the country to hear from working women on a range of topics, including: the valuation of their work inside and outside the home; the combined burden of race and gender discrimination among minority women; constraints on the use of women’s skills; and equal pay. These Women’s Bureau outreach activities, which involved unions, state labor departments, women’s organizations, and civil rights advocates, revealed women’s clear interest in legislative and other policy action on equal pay and equitable employment treatment.


Talking apprenticeships, paid sick leave

Posted on March 22, 2016 at 10:37 AM EDT

Women’s Bureau regional administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz at the apprenticeship fair in Phoenix.

Workers who complete apprenticeship programs earn approximately $300,000 more over their career than do those who do not complete such programs, according to data on the department’s website. As part of the Women’s Bureau’s commitment to increasing awareness of career opportunities in apprenticeship, the San Francisco regional office recently organized the Women’s Employment and Registered Apprenticeship fair in Phoenix. Participating in the March 14 effort were the Office of Apprenticeship, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service and the Wage and Hour Division. “In honor of Women’s History month, we want to help raise awareness about apprenticeship opportunities offered in fields considered non-traditional for women,” said Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, regional administrator for the Women’s Bureau regional office in San Francisco. “We encourage job seekers to visit this web portal to look for career opportunities in construction, security and transportation.” One day later, the regional office kicked off the first in a series of roundtables discussions with state and local leaders on advance paid leave programs. Representatives from the Tempe and Tucson Coalitions for Earned Sick and Safe Days gathered at the Local 99 office of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to share their perspectives on recent efforts to enact paid sick days for city workers. Attendees also discussed ideas on policies to expand paid family leave that would meet the needs of working families – particularly those with multiple jobs, work part-time, work for small employers, or care for grandparents or grandchildren. “We learned that still too many workers aren’t aware of their rights under existing laws and it’s critical to further our overall public outreach as we work toward expanding worker benefit programs,” said Jenkins-Pultz.


Helping women succeed

Posted on March 22, 2016 at 10:34 AM EDT

The Women’s Bureau’s Atlanta office, along with the YWCA of Greater Atlanta and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, presented “The Apex of Power: When Boomer, Generation X and Millennial Women Come Together” on March 10 at the Georgia Power Auditorium. Nearly 100 women attended the Women’s “Herstory” Month Fireside Chat event that featured women leaders from around Atlanta. The panel discussion focused on how generations of women can come together to address issues like equal pay and women’s leadership.


Honoring Women in Public Service: Elizabeth Duncan Koontz

Posted on March 15, 2016 at 11:16 AM EDT

Picture of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz.

Director (1969-1973) Elizabeth Duncan Koontz taught for 30 years before becoming the first African-American director of the Women's Bureau. Koontz helped to share research and expertise with women abroad; address and eliminate discrimination against women and minorities in the workforce; identify discriminatory provisions in state statutes; support and fight for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). After her time as Director of the Women’s Bureau, she became a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1975.


International Women’s Day celebrations

Posted on March 11, 2016 at 2:49 PM EDT

(left to right) Linda Evans, United Nations Association-USA Dallas; Noor Saadeh, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation; Dolores Bischof, Women’s Bureau; Indu Mandadi and Rahat Arifuddin, India Association of North Texas.

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Women’s Bureau held an engaging discussion on March 8 at Simmons College in Boston. “When Women Set the Agenda: Equal Pay, Paid Family Leave, and Child Care” was organized in tandem with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and the Boston Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement. Earlier in the week, the bureau participated in the 15th Annual Dallas Celebration of International Women’s Day, focusing on the myriad challenges that working women face including income inequality and lack of access to paid family and medical leave.


Job services and support for homemakers

Posted on March 11, 2016 at 2:44 PM EDT

Executive board members from DHNJ join WB Regional Administrator Grace Protos (first row, center).

During a March 3 workshop on re-entering the job market for the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey, the Women’s Bureau addressed the status of women in the labor force and access to high-pay, high-growth jobs. Afterward, participants discussed meaningful ways to collaborate on future research and policy efforts. The DHNJ provides services such as education, job readiness training, networking, referrals and emotional support to help homemakers who have been out of the labor force become economically self-sufficient.


Honoring Women in Public Service: Mary Van Kleeck

Posted on March 08, 2016 at 4:17 PM EDT

Picture of Mary Van Kleeck

Like other prominent middle-class women reformers of her generation, Mary Van Kleeck had a strong academic training at elite institutions. She compiled detailed information about women’s work for the development of employment standards, eventually producing three books: Artificial Flower Makers (1913a), Women in the Bookbinding Trade (1913b), and A Seasonal Trade: A Study of the Millinery Trade in New York (1917). In 1918 Van Kleeck served as Director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Women in Industry Service, the precursor to the Women’s Bureau.


Honoring Women in Public Service: Alexis Herman

Posted on March 03, 2016 at 1:14 PM EDT

Picture of the previous women’s bureau Director Alexis Herman.

Throughout Women’s History Month, we are honoring women in public service and government. This week we recognize Alexis Herman. At age 29, she was the youngest person ever to serve as Women’s Bureau Director. She moved on to become the first African-American to serve as the Secretary of Labor. During her tenure, she restructured the U.S. Department of Labor skills programs which helped move people from welfare to work. She worked with disadvantaged youth through the Youth Opportunity program, and facilitated negotiations between UPS management and Teamsters Union leaders, ending a ten-day strike. She even coined the term “nontraditional occupations,” which we still use today.


Florida shines spotlight on women

Posted on February 10, 2016 at 10:35 AM EDT

Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Joan Harrigan-Farrelly.

To inform and motivate women about the legislative process and help them become leaders on impactful policy changes, the Florida Commission on the Status of Women hosted “Women’s Day at the Capitol” on Jan. 28 in Tallahassee. Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Joan Harrigan-Farrelly addressed nearly 200 attendees, delving into the status of working women in America and what the department is doing to help them. Other discussion topics included raising the minimum wage; increasing access to paid leave and closing the wage gap by helping women enter high-paying, high-growth occupations.


Facing working women issues

Posted on February 03, 2016 at 10:18 AM EDT

Jacqueline Cooke, Region I administrator, WB.

The Women’s Bureau participated in the American Library Association 2016 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston on Jan. 9.  Regional Administrator Jacqueline Cooke presented on Issues Facing 21st Century Working Women in the ALA Placement and Career Development Center, where she discussed equal pay, family caregiving responsibilities and paid leave. Cooke also distributed Women’s Bureau publications that can assist in community service activities facilitated by the library.


Focus on women

Posted on December 07, 2015 at 8:05 AM EDT

Representatives from the department and other federal agencies meet with a United Nations working group.

Representatives from the department met with the United Nations Working Group on Issues of Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice on Nov. 30 to discuss preventing and combating discrimination against women in America. The meeting included an overview of economic, family and social issues as well as an in-depth discussion on constitutional and legislative initiatives protecting women’s rights, promoting gender equality and eliminating discriminatory practices. Hosted at the Bureau of Labor Statistics headquarters in Washington, D.C., the meeting was the first in a series to be held across the country over two weeks, and will be used for a report to be released in June. Representatives from the Women’s Bureau, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Office of Disability Employment Policy, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Office of Civil Rights, Equal Employment Office participated. Representatives from the departments of Education and State and the Office of Personnel Management also joined.


Helping older women in the workforce

Posted on December 01, 2015 at 9:49 AM EDT

(Left to Right): Dolores Bischof, Women’s Bureau; Dr. Sherlynn Howard-Hall, Wiley College; Joyce Armstrong Scurry, East Texas Chapter of the Links, Inc., and Valerie Davis, Women’s Bureau.

Providing older women with the tools they need to enter or re-enter the workforce was the focus of a Women’s Bureau event held on Nov. 21 at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Wiley College is an East Texas organization that serves older workers, and the “50+ Women2Work Conference” provided participants with a wide range of job readiness skills, including tips for accessing training for new professions, best practices for filling out online job applications, and reinforcing good interviewing techniques. Conference speakers also presented information on best practices for managing finances and resources to help older women become entrepreneurs. Read more on Older Women Workers and Economic Security.


Advancing equality for women, girls of color

Posted on November 24, 2015 at 10:54 AM EDT

Women’s Bureau Director Latifa Lyles (third from right) participates in the panel on “Prosperity and Promise: Economic Opportunity in the Next Decade”.

A summit on advancing equity for women and girls of color brought together academics, members of the private sector, government officials and philanthropists at the White House on Nov. 13. Headlining the event was the release of a White House report which identifies five data-driven issue areas where interventions can promote opportunities for success at school, work and in the community. The White House also announced a $100 million, 5-year-funding initiative by Prosperity Together, a group of women’s foundations, formed to improve the economic security of low-income women. Women’s Bureau Director Latifa Lyles participated on a panel called “Prosperity and Promise: Economic Opportunity in the Next Decade,” where she discussed women in the workforce, apprenticeship opportunities and paid leave.  The summit, hosted by the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, included remarks from Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.


Employment and training policy symposium

Posted on November 24, 2015 at 10:50 AM EDT

Representatives from the Chief Evaluation Office and theWomen’s Bureau participated in the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Conference in Miami on Nov. 13. The symposium, the largest of its kind, brought together a diverse group of academics, program evaluators and other policy professionals to discuss emerging research on employment and training, education, health and housing.  The department’s presentations included sessions on employment policy during the Great Recession, the effectiveness of Workforce Investment Act programs, the impact of worker protection programs, and new research on state paid family leave programs.


Women’s Bureau’s Regions Celebrate National Apprenticeship Week

Posted on November 10, 2015 at 12:31 PM EDT

The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau participated in many events across the country for National Apprenticeship Week.  In Washington, DC the Women’s Bureau co-hosted a Discussion on Women in Trucking with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Public Engagement and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Labor’s VETS and Office of Apprenticeship and representatives from private industry exchanged ideas and best practices to recruit and retain women in the transportation fields.

Picture representing the Boston National Apprenticeship Week.In Boston, the Women’s Bureau and Office of Apprenticeship co-hosted A conversation on Women in Apprenticeship. Public sector leaders from U.S. Department of Labor, EEOC, and state, city, and county officials discussed examples of successful apprenticeship programs and some challenges women still face in entry and retention in many occupational fields. Regional Administrator Jackie Cooke also introduced the Women’s Bureau’s new resource, a Women Build, Protect and Move America portal. This portal provides a repository of information for women job-seekers and service providers in the construction, transportation and protective services career fields. 

In Lowell, MA the Women’s Bureau and the Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board convened a roundtable discussion focused on Apprenticeships in Manufacturing.  Representatives from the manufacturing industry and from federal, state, and local agencies discussed the expanding role of apprenticeships in the Massachusetts workforce, particularly in the Lowell area. Participants heard from Women’s Bureau Program Analyst Angela Rizzolo, an Office of Apprenticeship grantee, and the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and Department of Career Services.

Picture representing the Berkeley, CA  National Apprenticeship Week.In Berkeley, CA the Women’s Bureau Regional Administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz spoke at an open house called Celebrating Women in Apprenticeship, which showcased the federal role in promoting apprenticeship and enforcing equal employment opportunity for women and minorities within the building trades. In addition, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and key state agencies, including the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls shared state and local efforts to bring more women into apprenticeship.  Important voices from the advocacy community highlighted model programs and shared perspectives on the power of apprenticeship to change women’s lives, including Tradeswomen, Inc., Equal Rights Advocates and female apprenticeship coordinators from the Operating Engineers and the Alameda County Building Trades. 

In New York City, the Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) hosted a forum titled Advancing Women in the Trades: Building on Success at 7 World Trade Center.  The forum included panels and presentations by regional construction and union leaders.  Former apprentices also shared their experiences and successes in moving from apprentice to local leader.  The forum was followed by a site visit of 4 World Trade Center and the Fulton Transit Center as well as an open house at NEW’s training facility. The event was attended by about 150 people and focused on increasing the presence of women in the trades.  Grace Protos, Mallory Trachtenberg, and Grace Ahrens attended on behalf of the Women’s Bureau.

In Denton, TX, Women’s Bureau’s Program Analyst Dolores Bischof attended at an open house hosted by Power Line Holdings (PLH) Group at Northwest Lineman College.  The event featured a presentation about PLH Group’s Registered Apprentice Program, as well as a facility tour and special breakout sessions where attendees heard about program start up and programs offered, and had a chance to interact with current and former apprentices.

In Philadelphia, the Women’s Bureau Program Analyst Rose Holandez spoke at an open house at the Finishing Trades Institute and at the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund’s Career Fair, which featured guest speakers and previous apprentices.

In Portland, OR the Women’s Bureau’s Regional Administrator Betty Lock spoke at Oregon Tradeswomen’s Women in Apprenticeship Day Recognition Event which brought together industry employers, public officials, and pre-apprenticeship students at the Sheet Metal Institute training center. 

In Seattle, the Women’s Bureau’s Regional Administrator Betty Lock attended the South Seattle College Apprenticeship Open House which provided an opportunity for the Women’s Bureau to build a relationship with the new grantees of an American Apprenticeship Initiative Grant to fund the Advanced Technology Apprenticeships in manufacturing and marine engineering project. 


A boost for women’s economic security

Posted on November 09, 2015 at 1:22 PM EDT

Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Pronita Gupta speaks at the Maine Women’s Summit on Economic Security.

Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Pronita Gupta and Wage and Hour Division Deputy Administrator Laura Fortman traveled to Augusta, Maine, on Oct. 16 for the Maine Women’s Summit on Economic Security. Hosted by the Maine Women’s Policy Center, the event aimed to build support and action for a variety of public policies to increase women’s economic security, including paid family leave, paid sick leave, and increasing the minimum wage. Gupta made a case for taking the lead on leave, offering encouraging examples of progress from New England – Rhode Island has just one of three state paid-leave programs nationwide, and Connecticut and Massachusetts offer paid sick leave programs. Additionally, the Women’s Bureau has supported the efforts of four New England states with paid leave analysis grants in 2014 and 2015. “A big part of economic security is having the peace of mind in knowing that you won’t lose your job or forgo your income if you have to take time off to have a child or care for a loved one,” said Gupta. Fortman spoke at a session titled “Policy in Action: Ensuring the Laws Work for You.”


Economic security summit in Vermont

Posted on October 22, 2015 at 3:16 PM EDT

Women’s Bureau Director Latifa Lyles speaks at the Vermont Women’s Economic Security Summit.

In a day of policy discussions that could improve the economic well-being for working women and their families, Women’s Bureau Director Latifa Lyles addressed an audience of more than 150 individuals from government, business, nonprofits and colleges at the Vermont Women’s Economic Security Summit on Oct. 8 in Montpelier. Lyles spoke about a range of initiatives that strengthen economic security for working families, including the importance of paid family and sick leave. She emphasized that, as one of the eight recipients of this year’s paid leave analysis grants, Vermont can serve as a catalyst for progress on paid leave both locally and nationally. The event was sponsored by the Vermont Commission on Women and the Vermont Women’s Legislative Caucus.


Pay disparity among Latina population

Posted on October 22, 2015 at 3:23 PM EDT

(Left to right) Ruth Silver-Taube, Katherine & George Alexander Community Law Center; Chandra Brooks, Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women; Christina Ramos, Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley; Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, Women’s Bureau; and Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Policy.

Hispanic women represented 1 in 7 women in the labor force last year, yet they tend to have less favorable outcomes than Hispanic men and non-Hispanics. On Oct. 8, the Women’s Bureau participated in a panel discussion in San Jose, Calif., about the gender wage gap among Latinas. During her presentation, regional administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz noted that occupational segregation, educational attainment and lack of benefits are factors that contribute to the wage gap among this group. “On an annual, national basis, Latinas earn just 55 percent of the wages of white men, and 87 percent of the wages of Hispanic men,” Jenkins-Pultz said. A screening of “Made in L.A.,”  a documentary highlighting economic challenges facing Latinas working in the garment industry, followed the panel discussion.


Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated in RI

Posted on October 22, 2015 at 3:26 PM EDT

Luanne Santelises, Santelises Law Firm; Nellie M. Gorbea, secretary of state, Rhode Island; Jodi LaFauci, Nowell Leadership Academy; Luz M. Filpo, YWCA Rhode Island; and Angela Rizzolo, Women’s Bureau.

The Women’s Bureau organized two events in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month at the campuses of Nowell Leadership Academy in Providence and Central Falls, R.I., on Oct. 13 and 14. Partnering with the Rhode Island YWCA and the Leadership Academy – which provides quality educational opportunities for at-risk students, the bureau facilitated two panel presentations by successful Latina women in business, government, law and social work. Among the speakers, Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea described her history-making career trajectory as the first Latina to be elected to her position.


$1.55 Million in Paid Leave Analysis Grants Awarded

Posted on October 15, 2015 at 10:49 AM EDT

The Women's Bureau recently announced $1.55 million in grants to eight states and localities to study the feasibility of developing and expanding statewide paid family and medical leave programs.

The 2015 Paid Leave Analysis Grants awardees are:

  • The State of California, Employment Development Department
  • The Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight, Maryland
  • The New Hampshire Employment Security
  • The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
  • The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability
  • The Vermont Commission on Women
  • The Washington State Employment Security Department

Read our press release for more information.
Check out Secretary Perez's blog post about the grants.

This investment builds on the $500,000 in paid leave analysis grants awarded in 2014 to the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Montana and Rhode Island, and represent a key deliverable and action item announced at the June 2014 White House Summit on Working Families.


Building Jobs

Posted on October 15, 2015 at 11:03 AM EDT

From left: author Kimberly Freeman-Brown; Valerie Erwin, executive director, National Participatory Democracy Project; Neidi Dominguez, director of Worker Centers and assistant director for Community Change, AFL-CIO; Talisa Hardin, chief nurse representative, NNU; Wilna Destin, housekeeping organizer, UNITE HERE; Fatima Goss-Graves, senior vice president for program, National Women’s Law Center; Author Marc Bayard; Latifa Lyles, director, Women’s Bureau; Mary Beth Maxwell, principal deputy assistant secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy; and Robin Matthews, first vice president, Blacks In Government-DOL Chapter.

Black women in the labor movement: The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Women’s Bureau and Blacks in Government-DOL chapter hosted a briefing with the authors of And I Still Rise: Black Women Labor Leaders-Voices, Power, Promise – a report on black women’s leadership in the labor movement. Authors Kimberly Freeman Brown and Marc Bayard shared insights into winning organizing strategies, ways to build power by linking arms with others and the value of opening opportunity to black women in nontraditional fields.  The findings were gathered through first-person interviews and a national online survey. Two of the women featured in the report, published by the Institute for Policy Studies, joined the briefing to share their stories –Wilna Destin, housekeeping organizer, UNITE HERE in Orlando, Fla., and Talisa Hardin, chief nurse representative, National Nurses United, in Chicago.


International Scene

Posted on October 15, 2015 at 11:05 AM EDT

Deputy Director of the Women’s Bureau, Pronita Gupta (fourth from right), joins key staff from the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment at the forum.

Women’s Bureau delegation to Philippines: Pronita Gupta, deputy director of the Women’s Bureau, was part of a 20-person U.S. delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Women and the Economy Forum Sept. 15-18 in Manila, Philippines. Gupta met with senior staff, including Assistant Secretary Gloria Tango, at the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment, where they exchanged information about work-family topics such as paid leave and skills-training issues such as the role of apprenticeships. The APEC Women and the Economy Forum is focused on integrating women more fully into APEC economic planning and policy development. A number of critical initiatives led by the U.S. were highlighted at the forum, and the Bureau of International Labor Affair’s Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit was unveiled.


Women’s Bureau at the Black Women’s Task Force Conference

Posted on September 14, 2015 at 10:21 AM EDT

Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Joan Harrigan-Farrelly (left) and management consultant Quiana Dickenson addressed the Black Women’s Task Force Conference.

Deputy Director of the Women’s Bureau, Joan Harrigan-Farrelly, traveled to Tucson, Arizona, to deliver the keynote address to more than 200 attendees at the Black Women’s Task Force Conference. Her Sept. 4 keynote highlighted some best practices for improving women’s earning power, including: creating access to high-growth occupations with higher earnings, raising the minimum wage, and ensuring equal pay. After all, Farrelly remarked, “When women succeed, America succeeds.”


Celebrating Women’s Equality Day across America

Posted on September 04, 2015 at 10:37 AM EDT

Jacqueline Cooke, Women’s Bureau regional administrator; Diane Balser, co-director of Boston University’s Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies; and Carol Monteiro, regional program manager, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

To commemorate the 95th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and Women’s Equality Day, the Women’s Bureau took part in several events throughout the country. In San Francisco, the Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Policy and the Family Friendly Workplace Collaborative hosted a luncheon on Aug. 28. Earlier that day, an equal pay news conference featured several speakers, including Elmy Bermejo, regional representative for the Secretary of Labor. In Kansas, the Women’s Bureau hosted events with the American Association of University Women on Aug. 25 and 26, highlighting the gender wage gap, occupational segregation and the need for more young women in STEM fields. And in Boston, Diane Balser of Boston University recounted the ongoing fight for gender equality. Christina Eckenroth, lead workforce development specialist in the Employment and Training Administration, spoke of her experiences as a working mother in the federal government; and Carol Monteiro, regional executive with the Department of Health and Human Services, described her career advancement from entry-level employee to an executive position.


Women leaders advise mayors

Posted on July 20, 2015 at 10:14 AM EDT

Women’s Bureau Regional Administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz (speaking) highlighted the need to take an active role in improving economic opportunities for women and families during a roundtable discussion with women leaders in San Francisco on June 18.

The Women’s Bureau joined the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, an advisory agency, and It’s Time Network, a women’s empowerment group, to facilitate a discussion on women’s economic security. The June 18 gathering coincided with the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, also hosted in San Francisco. Women’s Bureau Regional Administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz led a roundtable of women leaders from corporations, nonprofits, universities and public sector agencies. The discussion concluded with a recommendation that the mayors host women’s economic summits to promote prosperity and foster collaborative efforts to boost equality for women and girls nationwide. “It is our hope that this recommendation is widely implemented to provide new venues for women to build their leadership skills and take an active role in improving economic opportunities for women and families,” Jenkins-Pultz said.


Paid leave effort gets $1.25M to study expansion in U.S

Posted on June 22, 2015 at 11:08 AM EDT

Margaret Kabat, acting national director, Caregiver Support Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (left) and Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles participate in a panel on caregivers and older Americans at the White House, May 18.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that $1.25 million will be made available to research and analyze how paid leave programs can be developed and implemented across the country. The department's Women's Bureau will administer the funding opportunity.


In Support of Older Americans and Their Caregivers

Posted on June 04, 2015 at 9:58 AM EDT

Margaret Kabat, acting national director, Caregiver Support Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (left) and Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles participate in a panel on caregivers and older Americans at the White House, May 18.

The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. To recognize these historic initiatives, the White House has hosted a series of events under the umbrella of the White House Conference on Aging focused on improving and advancing the quality of life for older Americans. After convening regional events in Tampa, Phoenix, Seattle and Cleveland, they most recently hosted an event in Washington, D.C., on May 18 that focused on the role and importance of caregivers. Supporting Older Americans and Their Caregivers brought together advocates, caregivers, researchers and policymakers. As a member of one panel, Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles discussed the importance of improving the standards for caregivers — raising their wages, establishing overtime protections, improving retirement security, and granting access to paid leave and other workplace flexibility options. "Culturally, how we value care workers is something we have to continue to address," she said. Lyles was joined by officials from the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, the VA Caregiver Support Program, and the Office of Personnel Management to discuss policies and programs driven by federal agencies that provide support to caregivers.

• Learn About the White House Conference on Aging
• Visit the Women's Bureau Web Page


Older Women Mean Business

Posted on May 12, 2015 at 2:01 PM EDT

Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles delivers remarks at an Older Women's League event at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., May 6.

Approximately 80 people gathered at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on May 6 for "Our Women Mean Business: Encore Careers After 40." Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles delivered remarks detailing the department's efforts to help meet the economic needs of women workers. "We must develop and deliver programs that work for women across their lifespans," she said. "As more and more women re-enter the workforce after taking time off for caregiving or embark on their second and third careers, their success is critical for today's working families."


Immigrant Working Women Heard

Posted on May 12, 2015 at 1:57 PM EDT

Regional Secretary's Representative Elmy Bermejo (right) addresses attendees at an immigrant women worker roundtable. Wage and Hour's Jamika Lopez (left) and Geri Yang with Wells Fargo listen in.

To hear and address issues faced by California's immigrant working women, Regional Administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz and Regional Secretary Representative Elmy Bermejo traveled from the Women's Bureau office in San Francisco to Fresno for a roundtable on May 4. They listened as 20 advocates, immigrant women workers and federal agencies representing rural communities discussed affordable child care, reliable transportation, job training opportunities and access to federal grants.


Women Building the Nation

Posted on May 12, 2015 at 1:55 PM EDT

The largest gathering of tradeswomen in the world — 1,200 from more than 25 states — convened at the "Women Building the Nation" Fifth National Conference in Los Angeles on May 2. Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles was invited to speak by its sponsor, the State Building and Construction Trades Council in Sacramento. In her remarks, she stressed the critical need women have for more opportunities in the trades. These opportunities provide a strategy to lift women out of poverty and help close the gender wage gap, noted Lyles, who also led a roundtable discussion for apprentices, journeyman, elected union leaders and apprenticeship coordinators to discuss the challenges and rewards of good jobs and sustainable careers.


Balancing Work and Caregiving

Posted on May 01, 2015 at 11:10 AM EDT

(from left to right) Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of the New America Foundation; Mohamed El-Erian, chair of President Obama's Global Development Council; Sarita Gupta, co-director of Caring Across Generations; Latifa Lyles, Women's Bureau director; and Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder and CEO of Care.com came together to discuss workplace policies at the New America Foundation 2015 Annual Conference.

"It's time we start thinking of workers as people who have families," Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles told the New America Foundation's 2015 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on April 24. She served on a panel discussing the challenges families face balancing work and the care of their young children and aging loved ones. New America President and CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter moderated the panel, which featured Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder and CEO of Care.com; and Mohamed El-Erian, Chair of President Obama's Global Development Council.


50+ Women 2 Work

Posted on May 01, 2015 at 11:05 AM EDT

At the conference held at Richland College in Dallas on older women in the workforce were: (left to right) Grace Protos, Women's Bureau's acting regional administrator in Dallas; Dr. Kay Eggleston, president at Richland College in Dallas; Pronita Gupta, Women's Bureau's deputy director from Washington, D.C.; Valerie Davis and Dolores Bischof program analysts with the Women's Bureau in the Dallas regional office.

Working women and employment trends were the topics of discussion at three conferences in Dallas in the last two months. Women's Bureau Deputy Director Pronita Gupta used the opportunity to remind attendees that older women need tools to navigate the job market and become more economically stable. Held in collaboration with Dallas County Community College District's Brookhaven College, Cedar Valley College and Richland College, the bureau organized the 50+ Women 2 Work: Ready, Set, Employed conferences, the last of which took place April 29. They brought together speakers on educational opportunities at community colleges, job readiness, applying for a job, interviewing skills, basic finances and fraud/scam awareness and entrepreneurship.


Training and Equity for Workers

Posted on May 01, 2015 at 11:02 AM EDT

Participating in a panel at Public Policy Day 2015 in D.C. are: (left to right) Robin Runge, senior policy advisor for the Labor Department's Civil Rights Center; Dr. Avis Jones-Deweever, president and CEO of Incite Unlimited; Seth Galanter, principal deputy assistant secretary, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education; Johan Uvin, acting assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education; and Pronita Gupta, deputy director, Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor.

Equity, high-skills training and innovation were the focus of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity's Public Policy Day 2015 on April 22. In Washington, D.C., Pronita Gupta, deputy director of the Women's Bureau, joined a panel that included Robin Runge, senior policy advisor for the Civil Rights Center, and Johan Uvin of the U.S. Department of Education. Gupta discussed the work the Women's Bureau does to ensure that women achieve equity in the workplace through the promotion of jobs in STEM and in non-traditional fields. She also highlighted the department's American Apprenticeship grants, which support quality and innovative apprenticeship programs that lead to high-growth occupations and industries. "Our goal is to increase the number of women in apprenticeship programs and the American Apprenticeship grants are a fantastic way to increase apprenticeship opportunities for women," said Gupta.


Women's Bureau Had A Busy March

Posted on April 08, 2015 at 1:45 PM EDT

Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles (second on the right) participates in the GSA Interagency Roundtable entitled, "Breaking Barriers; Building Bridges."

For Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles, March was packed with speaking engagements and panel discussions nationwide to mark Women's History Month. On March 26, she served on a panel at the Catalyst Women of Color Summit in New York City. The event drew scholars, business leaders and policymakers who offered insight on the advancement of women of color in the workplace. Back in Washington, D.C., the next day, Lyles delivered the luncheon address at the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Summit. In her remarks there, she discussed the advancements made by women of color and the department's efforts on behalf of all working women. Lyles ended March with women leaders from throughout the U.S. government at a Women's Forum roundtable entitled "Breaking Barriers; Building Bridges," sponsored by the General Services Administration.


From Trauma to Work

Posted on April 08, 2015 at 1:41 PM EDT

Women's Bureau Regional Administrator Lucia Bruce discusses best practices for recognizing and responding to signs of trauma experienced by working women.

Community experts on trauma and employment in Alabama met on March 31 in Birmingham at an event co-hosted by the Women's Bureau. Participants at "From Trauma to Employment: Women's Challenges, Barriers, and Successes" discussed the importance of recognizing and responding to all forms of trauma experienced by women and its effects on their ability to attain stable employment. The Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, the University of Alabama, community advocate Sunny Slaughter and the department's Wage and Hour Division partnered on the event.


Celebrating Women's History

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 11:01 AM EDT

At the "Making Women's Rights Real" women's history month observance in Boston were: (left to right) Diane Hammer of Simmons College; Lydia Edwards of Equal Justice Works; Sheila Katzman, chair, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for New York City; Anjali Sakaria, legislative director for Sen. Dan Wolf and Jacqueline Cooke, regional administrator for the Women's Bureau.

In March, the Women's Bureau is celebrating at Women's History events across the country. On March 10, Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles delivered the keynote address at the 6th Annual Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health Summit in Madison. Lyles' speech touched on issues affecting working women, including paid leave, pregnancy accommodation and non-traditional occupations. At Boston's Simmons College, Women's Bureau Regional Administrator Jacqueline Cooke participated in "Making Women's Rights Real" on March 6. Attendees representing more than 50 organizations included Big Sister of Boston, Girls LEAP, YWCA Boston and Science Club for Girls.


Focus on California Women

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 10:59 AM EDT

A diverse panel of women leaders, including the department's Women's Bureau San Francisco Regional Administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz (next to speaker) attended the release of the 2015 Report on the Status of Women in Pasadena, California, on March 4.

The San Francisco regional office of the Women's Bureau joined the Pasadena Commission on the Status of Women on March 4 to discuss the release of the "2015 Report on the Status of Women in Pasadena." Written by Mount Saint Mary's University, the report found that women in Pasadena enjoy better earnings compared to other California women and, on average, earn 91 percent of men's annual wages. Women's Bureau Regional Administrator Kelly Jenkins-Pultz noted that Pasadena women have much higher levels of education other women in the state, which has helped open the highest paying jobs to them and narrowed the wage gap. The report also addresses housing and homelessness concerns, women veteran issues, domestic violence and human trafficking.


Remembering A. Philip Randolph

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 10:55 AM EDT

Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles (right) and A. Philip Randolph President Clayola Brown at the 50th Anniversary of the A. Philip Randolph Institute commemoration.

Community leaders and labor activists from Delaware to New England gathered in Boston Feb. 27 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the senior constituency group of the AFL-CIO. Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles joined Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Mass. AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, and APRI President Clayola Brown at the special commemoration of the statue of A. Philip Randolph, the organizer and first president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Lyles addressed the group that evening at the "Keeper of the Flame Award" dinner, remarking: "This historic milestone is an opportunity to note the many African American women trailblazers in both the civil rights and labor rights movement who are often missing from documents of history and acclaim."


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