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Adding a Gender Lens to Nontraditional Jobs Training

Wider Opportunities for Women for JFF

Nontraditional jobs hold the promise of new and high-potential careers that could mean significant new opportunities for women who are currently underrepresented in manufacturing and other technical occupations. Industries such as manufacturing can provide access to well-paid, career-track jobs that provide economic security and enable women to support themselves and their families.

However, too often neither workers from underrepresented groups nor the workforce professionals who provide career guidance to them pursue training and employment in such nontraditional occupations. The reasons for this are myriad. Many from underrepresented groups have not been exposed to the tools and materials used in technical occupations, or think that there are extraordinary strength requirements, or have never met anyone who does that kind of work. Workforce professionals may use aptitude assessments that don’t recognize women’s transferable skills, or they may conduct screenings that are heavily weighted towards prior experience that track women into traditional occupations such as nursing assistant or clerical jobs, which often call upon similar strength and physical dexterity skills as higher paying jobs in manufacturing. As a result, both women themselves and the workforce professionals coaching them miss the opportunity to see women as competitive candidates for nontraditional occupations that are primarily dominated by men.

Ensuring that more underrepresented workers are supported in entering higher-paying nontraditional occupations is critical not only to achieving economic equity for workers and their families but also to building a competitive workforce. The materials provided in Adding a Gender Lens to Nontraditional Jobs Training Programs are designed to help training programs for nontraditional jobs break through patterns of occupational segregation.

To read the full toolkit visit jff.org/newlensonjobs.