We recently launched our Women's Economic Mobility Initiative. Through the initiative, we awarded $500K in grants to six organizations that are helping increase employment and advancement opportunities for low-income women in the healthcare sector. Our CEO Surina Khan answers questions about this initiative.
What is the Women’s Economic Mobility Initiative?
The Women’s Economic Mobility Initiative is a strategic investment in programs and services that develop pathways to careers that provide family sustaining wages. This year, we are specifically focusing on the healthcare sector.
The goal of the initiative is to increase employment opportunities for low-income women while reducing the time they stay in low-wage jobs.
As part of the initiative, we have awarded grants totaling $500,000 to six organizations throughout California. These organizations—we call them grant partners—are providing comprehensive education, training and support service programs for low-income women, leading to employment or career advancement opportunities within the healthcare sector.
Moving forward, the initiative will focus on policy and systems change to increase wages and improve workplace benefits and working conditions of jobs in the healthcare sector and beyond.
Tell us more about the grant partners.
The organizations we are supporting take a comprehensive approach to addressing the barriers faced by low-income women, offering programs that include education, training, wrap-around services, job placement and long-term career navigation.
Grant recipients include El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center in San Bernardino; Goodwill Serving the People of Southern Los Angeles County, based in Long Beach; In-Home Supportive Services Consortium serving San Mateo and San Francisco; Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project in Ventura; Taller San Jose; and Visión Y Compromiso, serving communities statewide. Learn more about each organization and the breakthrough strategies they are undertaking as part of the Women’s Economic Mobility Initiative.
Why is this initiative needed in California?
Working women and families in California are having a hard time making ends meet. In particular, the situation facing single mothers and their children is extremely dire. While California’s unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, the unemployment rate of single mothers is 40 percent. 40 percent!
Through the Women’s Economic Mobility Initiative, more women in California will have adequate opportunities to transition from unemployment or low-wage jobs into positions and careers that pay enough to support their families.
Why the focus on the healthcare sector in particular?
The healthcare sector, already one of the largest employers in California, is projected to grow rapidly over the coming years due to an increased demand for healthcare services. Workforce shortages in the healthcare sector are expected, particularly for positions in primary and long-term care, and California’s post-secondary institutions and training providers currently lack the capacity to meet future demand.
We’re focusing on employment opportunities in the healthcare sector because it offers many employment opportunities, defined career pathways, multiple occupations requiring less than a 4-year degree and family-sustaining wages.