Thursday, May 1, 2008

Support Pathways to Career Training

While more women are working than ever before, many do not have the skills and opportunities necessary to obtain the high-wage jobs needed to adequately support themselves and their families. To address this, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) recently introduced the Pathways to Advancing Career Training (PACT) Act (H.R. 5774).

This legislation would fund programs that provide outreach, education, training, support, and job placement assistance to encourage and prepare women for nontraditional careers. The provisions of the PACT Act would fill the void left when similar programs were eliminated from the Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act in 1998.

Women experience barriers to entry in high-wage, high-skill jobs due to biased career counseling and recruiting. Even after they enter nontraditional career and technical education programs, they may experience sexual harassment and differential treatment in the classroom. The PACT Act focuses on decreasing the obstacles single mothers and divorced and widowed women face when re-entering the workforce and preparing them for careers in fields where they are underrepresented.

AAUW believes that career and technical education is increasingly important for women and girls working towards economic self-sufficiency for themselves and their families in a competitive marketplace. Access to high-wage, high-skill jobs should be a right for women and girls from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, age, and disability backgrounds, including training for nontraditional jobs. It is in these fields traditionally dominated by men that women workers can begin to close the persistent wage gap between women and men.

Take Action!
To urge your representative to cosponsor the PACT Act, you can use the AAUW Take Action system. Click on the link, then follow the instructions to send your message:

For more information, read AAUW's position paper on career and technical education for women and girls.

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