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Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Women Can and Should Go for the Green (Jobs)

Posted by deborahfrett on May 31, 2011

Throughout the last year, Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation has been connecting women to the emerging green economy by providing access to green job training and resources.  Our goal is to help women of all ages better understand and identify the sustainable jobs of the future, and to align their skills with those particular jobs.  After nearly a century focused on improving women’s access to opportunities in non-traditional occupations, BPW Foundation wants to ensure that women are ready to participate in and contribute to the growing green economy.

Historically, women have been under-represented in the dominant (and high-paying) green sector job fields.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), women only represent 1.7 percent of electricians, 5.5 percent of first-line supervisors/managers of mechanics, installers, and repairers, 5.9 percent of mechanical engineers, and 9 percent of computer and engineering fields.  Instead, women most often choose the following five (significantly lower-paying) occupations: secretaries and administrative assistants, registered nurses, elementary and middle school teachers, cashiers, and nursing, psychiatric and home health aides.  Clearly, women are getting left behind at this intersection.

An important first step in securing green jobs for women has been to raise their awareness that the higher-paying jobs offered by the green economy are within reach of women of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels.  The green sector encompasses a wide variety of employment fields and industries, and gateway opportunities exist for women with a broad range of education, exposure, and experience.

There are an increasing number of training opportunities for those interested in pursuing green careers.  Through a grant from Walmart Foundation, BPW Foundation recently supported four community-based pilot programs to determine demand and expand specific training and services for women aligned with local green jobs.  BPW Foundation is also partnering with AARP Foundation to expand access and opportunities for mature women to find training, jobs and advance their careers in the green economy.

Educating women about the range of green jobs and training available for green occupations brings us one step closer to ensuring that women have the chance to compete for and succeed in the green economy.  Training and certification can be found at many levels, from high school to and through graduate school. Green training can also be acquired on-the-job—unions and nonprofit organizations, as well as industry associations often sponsor apprenticeships and other programs.  Finally, several training programs are currently funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and are in development by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.

Through our work and research, BPW Foundation understands that despite the many avenues for education and training, if there are no jobs, these skills offer no benefit. Fortunately, however, that looks like it is about to change for the better! While overall the economy vacillates between recovery and recession, there are major indications that the green economy is growing.

According to a new MoneyTree Report released by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), first quarter 2011 investments in the Clean Technology sector jumped 26% above the fourth quarter of 2010.  The Clean Technology sector, as defined by PWC, crosses traditional industries and comprises alternative energy, pollution, recycling, power supplies, and conservation.  The impressive $1.0 billion invested in Clean Technology places that sector second only to the Software Industry in terms of dollar investment. This month’s employment figures offer further support, even as the nation’s unemployment level rose slightly to 9 percent, there were gains in corresponding Clean Technology industry sectors.

So with the green economy solidly “in the black,” women of all ages need to be poised and ready to “go for it” and capitalize on the opportunities presented by this growing sector.  BPW Foundation can show you the way.  Visit www.bpwfoundation.org/GreenForWomen to learn about successfully navigating a green career pathway.  Go for it!

Posted in Career Advancement, green, Non Traditional Jobs, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

You’re Invited:Where are the Green Jobs for Women?

Posted by gansie on September 10, 2010

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The United States Studies Program
Where are the Green Jobs for Women?

By all accounts, the “Green Economy” holds out great promise for the United States—not only for the nation’s natural environment but also for its economic climate. Policymakers assert that government investments in green initiatives can produce 20 percent more jobs than traditional economic stimulus measures. Women, however, are not finding as much employment in the green economy as men. Why is this so? The United States Studies Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is planning a conference to explore this question.

Monday, September 13, 2010

1:00 p.m. Introduction
1:15 p.m. National Trends
3:00 p.m. Coffee Break
3:15 p.m. Women’s Pathways to the Green Economy
5:00 p.m. Adjournment
All panels will be held in the 6th Floor Auditorium
This is a free public event, but RSVPs are requested.
Please respond with acceptances only to usstudies@wilsoncenter.org


Panel I: National Trends
Sara Manzano- Diaz, Director of the Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor
Debbie Frett, CEO, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation
Yvonne Liu, Senior Research Associate, The Applied Research Center
Joan Kuriansky, Executive Director, Wider Opportunities for Women
Wanda Ward, Office of the Director, National Science Foundation
Shari Shapiro, lawyer/author, Philadelphia
Panel II: Women’s Pathways to the Green Economy
Camille Cormier, Director of Local Programs and Policy, Wider Opportunities for Women
Michele Parrott, Green Program Coordinator, Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles
Kit Williams, Project Manager, Green Jobs Pipeline for Women, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
Tiffany Bluemle, Executive Director, Vermont Works for Women
Virginia Williams,  Senior Director for Green Jobs and Special, Initiatives, ResCare, Inc.

Posted in BPW, Economy, Environment, green, Misbehavin' Notification, Sustainability, Workforce Development/HR | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

A Message from National League of Cities

Posted by gansie on September 2, 2010

Register by September 15th for a reduced rate.

Posted in Economy, Environment, Families, Politics, Sustainability | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

From Unemployed to Production Assistant

Posted by gansie on August 19, 2010

Business and Professional Women Foundation’s “Moving from Red to Green: Working Women in the Green Economy” initiative connects women to the emerging green economy by providing green job training. With generous support from the Walmart FoundationBPW Foundation‘s four pilot programs have been awarded $60,000 grants to expand their capacity to train women for green jobs. CLIMB Wyoming is one of the grantees.

Here is how BPW Foundation is supporting women’s involvment in sustainability work.

Adanna is a wonderful representation of the CLIMB Wyoming program, including how the organization is working toward ‘green’ goals.

Thanks to CLIMB, Adanna now works at Pridigicom where she creates electronic proofs for customers (instead of paper-wasting hard copies), utilizes a digital eco-friendly press, recycles and uses green cleaning supplies. She even rides her bike to work. She often spends more than fifty percent of her workday involved in green activities.

Prior to entering the CLIMB program, Adanna was unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. In her new position as production assistant, Adanna makes $12 per hour during a 40-hour work week. Because of her current responsibilities, she is looking forward to the possibility of a future career path in web design for businesses.

Elly Garrett of CLIMB Wyoming’s Teton Area office had this to say about Adanna:
When Adanna first came to our program in January 2010, she identified that recycling was one of her passions.  During our program, she proved to be clever, attentive, and creative team player, one with great attention to detail. These traits have served her well in her job placement with Pridigicom, Inc.
CLIMB helped her overcome barriers and led to her current success in the workplace—- a positive leap toward achieving self-sufficiency and supporting her family.

CLIMB Wyoming is a nationally recognized training model that provides innovative and comprehensive services to economically disadvantaged single mothers and their families.

Working Women in the Green Economy bpwfoundation.org/greenforwomen

Green Success Stories
From Nail Polish to Residential Weatherization
From Jail to Class Leader

Posted in BPW, green, Successful Workplaces, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

From Nail Polish to Residential Weatherization

Posted by gansie on July 21, 2010

Business and Professional Women Foundation’s “Moving from Red to Green: Working Women in the Green Economy” initiative connects women to the emerging green economy by providing green job training. With generous support from the Walmart Foundation, BPW Foundation‘s four pilot programs have been awarded $60,000 grants to expand their capacity to train women for green jobs.

Vermont Works for women is one of the pilot sites.

Here is how BPW Foundation is supporting women’s involvment in sustainability work.

Vermont Works for Women helps women and girls explore and pursue their full potential through education and training programs that lead to financial independence. Here is just one story about a woman who made the change to a non traditional job.

Although HD (her initials) had graduated with high honors from a high school Cosmetology program at the local Technical Education Center in 2005, the jobs she had found since then were in housekeeping, food service and working at the post office processing center during the holiday rush.  Her average rate of pay was under $10/hour.

She had plenty of informal experience doing standard farm and “country” chores – throwing bales, clearing brush, cutting firewood, and the like. When she started to help an acquaintance on a tree project – working with chainsaws – she realized she was skilled, tough and a quick study in the hands-on learning required for new, tough tasks.

A friend of hers applying for Vermont Works for Women’s (VWW) Law Enforcement training program learned about the FRESH Energy crew and suggested HD apply.

FRESH ENERGY is on the job program that seeks to train and employ women in the fields of construction, efficiency and renewable energy.

Since she was currently working at a bagel store, she figured she had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  She called to investigate and soon submitted an application for the crew.

She wrote in her cover letter,

One thing my resume doesn’t show is the work I have done with family and friends – handling hay bales, fire wood, home clean outs, clearing brush, chain saw and tree work.  I think these demonstrate that I am a hard-working woman who is not afraid to try new things and be hands-on in my work.  I am excited at the idea of having the opportunity to get valuable training in a career field that I will enjoy and take pride in doing.”

HD was hired for the crew and started to wear a tool belt to work for the first time in her life.  During her first 2 months on the job, HD has received on-the-job training in residential weatherization in apartment style housing units as well as mobile homes.  She received EPA Lead Renovator Training and Certification, training in dense-pack cellulose installation and a thorough introduction to blower door testing.  In her third month on the job, she will receive introductory building science training, complete national certifications in both construction safety and hand tool use, and continue on-the-job training in residential weatherization.

Recently asked to reflect on her first two months with the FRESH Energy crew, she had this to say…

It’s been great for me.  I love doing the manual work rather than being in an office.  I love the training and the work experience.  We talk about everything, learn as we go, and then do it.  I benefit from this a lot more than if I was just thrown into a job.  I’ve also learned that doing this kind of work is saving more than you might think.  I used to think about energy efficiency as saving money on your bills, but I realize you’re saving a lot more than that now.  It helps to save the environment.  I’m not sure where I’m going with it yet.  But I like what I’m doing and I want to keep doing it.

Working Women in the Green Economy www.bpwfoundation.org/greenforwomen

Posted in Environment, Financial Security, green, Non Traditional Jobs, Sustainability, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Women’s Role in Protecting Our Environment

Posted by egehl on May 3, 2010

I was thinking this morning that it’s a shame “the worst” must be a description associated with my state yet again.  The worst natural disaster in history and now the worst environmental catastrophe since the Exxon Valdez spill.  As an oil slick barrels toward our fragile coastline and dwindling wetlands, I am reminded again how much we take our environment for granted until it’s at risk.

I am saddened by the explosion and destruction of the Deep Horizon exploration rig in the Gulf of Mexico which resulted in the presumed deaths of 11 people and injuries and stress to many more who were able to survive the catastrophe.  The looming threat from the oil spill to my state’s wetlands and local communities will have a huge impact on our economy and protection against future storms as the oil destroys more of our natural defenses.  In addition, our commercial fishing industry–a critical $2.4 billion economic engine for the region–is in grave jeopardy, which will impact thousands of families and businesses. 

Since Hurricane Katrina, our state has struggled so hard to promote the restoration and protection of our coast because of land loss.  Our coastline has barely recovered after five years so it’s difficult to think of it being hurt on top of what’s already happened—and just a month before hurricane season. 

Recently we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and the catastrophe in the Gulf is a reminder of how fragile our environment is and the consequences that can happen due to human interference. 

Women play an important part in environmental protection and in fact right now two women are playing a significant role in the oil clean up, Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano and EPA Secretary Lisa Jackson.   Ironically Lisa Jackson is from New Orleans which is advantageous for Louisiana as she helps to lead the Administration’s efforts to address the oil slick.

On a local level I got an email this morning from a good friend, Sharon, who is the Executive Director of Bayou Interfaith Shared Initiatives (BISCO), a nonprofit organization in Thibodeaux, LA that is part of the efforts to prevent the oil’s mass destruction.  She is working with local, state and federal officials and making sure that the local people are part of the discussion and solution.   BISCO will be one of the first groups to respond on the ground when emergencies like this occur and their leadership will help guide government officials.  Sharon’s leadership is another example of the influence women can have when their communities need help. 

Worldwide everyday women play a significant role in preserving our earth as mothers, consumers, small business owners, bread winners and activists.
Environmental issues such as climate change, clean water, air pollution and preserving natural resources are important to women and their families, and women have the opportunity to inspire and lead others to act consciously about how their actions can help or harm the earth.  Women make up the majority of the earth’s population and are vulnerable to detrimental changes to the planet therefore we have a vested interest in taking care of it.  
Especially in third world countries, millions of women are struggling with environmental risk factors that can harm them.  These include issues such as air pollution, contaminated water, lack of adequate sanitation, disease vectors and degraded ecosystems.  Women depend on natural resources for their economic and physical health, and providing for their families. 
Nearly all of the United Nations millennium development goals have implications for women and the environment.  Since 2005, the U.N. has supported women’s roles in protecting biodiversity, indigenous knowledge and overseeing environmental resources.

Women should be empowered so that their actions lead to a healthier, more peaceful planet.  Because women have a special vulnerability when it comes to the earth’s sustainability, their involvement with environmental efforts is crucial.  And there are many efforts taking place worldwide that are addressing climate change, corporate accountability, United Nations reform and women’s political participation. 

Women can be real catalysts for change for our environment through their everyday actions, by holding political office to lead a national response, or through their grassroots organizing to empower their local communities to be informed and poised for action.

Posted in Families, Global, Health, Lifestyle, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Misbehavin’ Notification: Green Online Resource for Women

Posted by YWM on April 22, 2010

Green Website for Women Launched on Earth Day
BPW Foundation Connects Women to Green Jobs

[Washington, DC] – In celebration of Earth Day, Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation is launching Working Women in the Green Economy (www.bpwfoundation.org/greenforwomen), a new microsite tailored specifically for women seeking information and career assistance for sustainable jobs of the future. 

“This new site, funded by the Walmart Foundation, is part of BPW Foundation’s Moving from Red to Green: Working Women in the Green Economy (Red to Green) initiative that connects women to the emerging green economy by providing green job training and resources,” said BPW Foundation Chair Roslyn Ridgeway.  

“Women have historically been under-represented in non-traditional industries. Our Red to Green pilot project will help women better understand and identify the sustainable jobs of the future while aligning their skills with those particular jobs,” Ridgeway continued. “We encourage women to seek out jobs that they may not have previously considered.”

The microsite will aggregate tools for green training providers, researchers, employers, entrepreneurs and jobseekers. It features a green jobs feed, newly released research, news articles and social media for green topics. “BPW Foundation wants to ensure that women have access to green and greener job options as well as the skills, information and support they need to succeed,” explained Deborah Frett, CEO for BPW Foundation.  

“While resources for finding and identifying green jobs are increasingly available, our site is unique because of its focus on women in the green economy,” said Frett.

BPW Foundation will analyze and organize information with the site serving as a portal for a variety of vital green resources.  Access to BPW Foundation’s research and resources on working women and successful workplaces will also be available via www.bpwfoundation.org/greenforwomen.    

“Our goal is for the greening of the workplace to include a new range of opportunities for women, as well as other under-represented populations, to compete and contribute. As a result, an inclusive workforce will support a stronger economy and success for businesses, as recent research on diverse workplaces has revealed.” Frett concluded. 

The ‘Red to Green’ pilot project funds four training programs to expand organization’s capacity to train women for green jobs.  The sites are Vermont Works for Women, VT; CLIMB Wyoming, WY; Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center, PA and Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles, CA.

BPW Foundation supports workforce development programs and workplace policies that recognize the diverse needs of working women, communities and businesses. BPW Foundation is a 501 ©(3) research and education organization. To learn more, visit www.bpwfoundation.org.

Posted in BPW, Career Advancement, Diversity, Economy, Families, girls, Global, green, Misbehavin' Notification, Research, Successful Workplaces, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

10 in 10 for 10

Posted by joyinhome on March 17, 2010

Have you received you 2010 Census form yet? Better question: have you completed and returned it?

Ladies, we are the person in the household who is most likely to complete this survey. Take ten minutes to complete 10 questions for the 2010 Census. It’s worth the time.

Posted in Diversity, Economy, Education, Families, Health, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Posted by espressodog on December 11, 2009

When they are not talking about health care reform, Afghanistan or climate change, policymakers are talking about jobs. Although recent news is better – the unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% to 10% in November – this has been the worst recession in terms of job loss since World War II.

Some of the hardest-hit groups are teenagers, people of color, those with a high school education or less and unmarried women. Unmarried women represent less than half of all women workers, but they represent 60 percent of unemployed women.  Unmarried women who head families, now have an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent.

Last week, President Obama hosted a Jobs Summit and has proposed more tax cuts for small business, investing in roads, bridges and infrastructure, and creating jobs through energy efficiency and clean energy investments. The president noted that even though the economy is now growing, the pace of growth does not look like it will be high enough to put the 15.4 million unemployed workers back on the job. Congress is expected to take action on a Jobs Bill sometime in early 2010.

The federal government has three main job creation tools at its disposal — government spending on goods and services, changes in taxes and hiring labor directly. Experts and policymakers have proposed numerous strategies to create and retain jobs such as tax credits, public service employment and the expansion of work-sharing/short-time compensation. Tax incentives directed at employers including tax cuts on business profits and investments were all already instituted as part of the Recovery Act. The Administration is now proposing tax incentives to encourage firms to hire new workers.

Policymakers are also focusing on promoting green jobs as a part of the overall recovery agenda. Despite the struggling economy, employers in several industries are facing severe shortage of skilled workers including information technology and renewable energy – industries which are considered non-traditional for women.

Women continue to make inroads into non-traditional occupations. As more women enter jobs that were once dominated by men, many jobs that were defined as non-traditional for women in 1988 are no longer non-traditional in 2008, including  chemist, physician, lawyer, and bailiff.

BPW Foundation strives to increase the number of women in better-paying, non-traditional fields and ensure that careers of the future are pursued equally by all genders. The Moving from Red to Green: Working Women in the Green Economy pilot project is ensuring that women are recruited, trained and retained in the sustainable jobs of the future.

Posted in Economy, Families, Global, green, Successful Workplaces, Sustainability, Uncategorized, Workforce Development/HR | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Huffington Post: BPW Foundation Post on Successful Workplaces

Posted by YWM on October 22, 2009

top_10Over the years, there’s been plenty of shaming big employers — picketing, signs with attack slogans, marching in the streets. But the game of us-against-them doesn’t work.

In order to transform the workplace to better reflect today’s workforce, we need to think about how to make working women and their families happy.

Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation learned some tips to creating successful workplaces for both employers and their employees. Well, there are actually quite a few, but at least we know these efforts are worth it and it seems that the stock market is starting to agree.

In a Harvard Business Review article, Freek Vermeulen cites a study by Professor Michelle Arthur, from the University of New Mexico, that measures the stock market’s attitude toward Fortune 500 companies’ announcement of work-life programs.

The findings show that there is a 4.8% positive swing when this type of news is released. For perspective, there was a slightly negative response (-0.35%) back in the 1980s.

In recognition of October as National Work and Family Month, BPW Foundation came up with a “tip sheet” to help all workplaces become better aligned with today’s workforce.

Successful Workplaces Tip Sheet:

1. Flexibility. Maybe there’s no such thing as balance. But at least employers can offer their employees the tools–telecommuting options, shift exchanges, compressed work weeks–to better manage their life inside and outside of the workplace.

2. Diversity. It’s more than filling quotas. Define it as broadly as possible for a competitive advantage: race, age, gender, orientation, disability, religion. Because, according to a study out this summer, “the mere presence of social diversity makes people with independent points of view more willing to voice those points of view, and others more willing to listen.”

3. Equity. It currently takes 16 months for a woman to earn what a man makes in 12 months. And that’s not even adjusted for race. Make equity in both pay and access for positions and promotions a priority.

Find out the rest of the Top 10 at Huffington Post

Posted in BPW, Diversity, Families, green, Pay Equity, Successful Workplaces, Sustainability, Workforce Development/HR, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »