The Opportunities for Women in Non-Traditional Employment (OWNE) Initiative, led by Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), a recognized leader in this work, will connect over a thousand low-income women to education and job training opportunities for high-wage careers in the skilled trades, STEM and manufacturing. Funded through an unprecedented, multi-million dollar grant from the Walmart Foundation, OIC will work with twelve partner organizations, across fifteen states, to expand womens opportunities related to career exploration, pre-apprenticeship training, and mentoring. In the greater Providence area, the funding will help the OIC of RI to provide training an employment to an additional 60 women.
Being part of WOWs national OWNE initiative not only enables us to reach more women than ever before, but allows us to play a national role in helping eradicate barriers to success for women in non-traditional jobs, said Michael Van Leesten, CEO of the OIC. We are proud to have been selected to participate with this national initiative and look forward to sharing solutions with other womens organizations in Rhode Island and around the country. It will our intent to leverage this investment with additional private and public resources to expand the number of participants in the program.
Through OWNE, we will demonstrate how strategically targeted programming can overcome the obstacles that prevent women from accessing and succeeding in high-wage careers. said Shawn McMahon, WOWs Interim President and CEO. This project and the OIC of Rhode Islands contribution will make a noticeable dent in our nations persistent problems of gender inequity, occupational segregation and the wage gap.
Policy obstacles and sex discrimination still confine a majority of women into a minority of mainly low-wage occupations. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all working women are concentrated in just 27 of over 400 occupations. Nearly two-thirds of all workers earning the federal minimum wage are women.
We know that when you invest in women, they invest in their families, which strengthens our communities and, ultimately, our country, said Ms. Sugerman We have a lot of work to do in addressing womens economic insecurity, but this project is a valuable step in the right direction. And, as President Obama reminded us, when women succeed, America succeeds.
A planned breakfast kickoff event for the OIC of Rhode Island program has been scheduled for May 28th from 8:00 am to 9:30 am at the Providence Marriott One Orms Street. For more information visit www.oicri.org