|Just the Facts|
According to a 2011 report, 10.4 million people in the U.S. are classified as "working poor"--meaning they spent at least 27 weeks of the year in the labor force but their income still fell below the federal poverty level. This was 1.5 million more working poor than the previous year.
The Illinois attorney general's office recently filed a lawsuit against Westwood College, a for-profit career college with four campuses in Chicago, for misleading students in their criminal justice program. Students, many of them adult, low-income, and now stuck with upwards of $60,000 in student loan debt, were promised their degrees would translate to good jobs, only to find out later that the college does not have proper accreditation and graduates are not eligible for most Illinois law enforcement jobs.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan says she wants the program shut down in Illinois, and she wants students' tuition to be refunded.
A new study
from the City University of New York and the Retail Action Project demonstrates clearly why we need action to "raise the floor" for low-wage workers.
A few findings from surveys of New York retail workers:
- Nearly one-third support a family member on their wages, yet the median wage is only $9.50 an hour.
- Less than half the workers received paid sick days, and fewer than 25 percent had ever actually taken a paid sick day.
- Women and people of color disproportionately face barriers to advancement, benefits, and wage parity.
- Seventy percent know their schedules only a week or less in advance, making it extremely difficult to manage child care or enroll in school.
Retail is one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy, yet employment conditions are declining. We need to build support for change among concerned people who know this hurts all our families and communities. Check out the study--and spread the word!
|Staff Says... |
Diana Perez-Domencich, our new Program Coordinator, was first introduced to WE through our Summer Leadership Program
How did being a Summer Leader inspire you in your career?
As an intern in the program, I heard from phenomenal women in incredible positions in government, foundations, and unions who had powerful, inspiring stories to tell about their jobs and their impact on disadvantaged women and workers. It inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others.
What WE project are you most excited to work on first?
Managing our Paid Sick Days Facebook page
. Social media is such a wide-reaching tool, and it has a lot of potential for engaging people, so I am excited about being creative in finding ways to rally people around our cause.
How can others get involved and make a difference?
One of the most exciting ways is to be part of the Advocacy Council. It is a space for young women to network, learn about the issues, and be part of an organization that gets things done. Contact me
to learn more!
City Colleges Chancellor: WE Plays Vital Role
|Chancellor Hyman: "Our students' socio- and economic backgrounds do not dictate their educational success - it is our job to help them overcome their challenges!"|
Earlier this month Cheryl Hyman, the Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), spoke to a group of Women Employed Investors
about the transformation CCC is undertaking to raise student achievement, and the role WE is playing in making their "Reinvention" a success.
Chancellor Hyman outlined CCC's priorities to help students meet the demands of a changing world, which include increasing the number of students earning college credentials of economic value and drastically improving outcomes for students who need remediation to bring them up to college-level coursework.
Chancellor Hyman noted that WE has played a vital role in supporting the reinvention efforts by advising their task forces on best practices, analyzing data and evaluating current practices, and advocating for the needs of adult students. We plan to continue our role in CCC's reinvention to ensure more students succeed and move into good jobs.