Gender Wage Gap Found In Federally Funded Training

Big Gender Wage Gap Found After Federally Funded Training

A new Briefing Paper, The Workforce Investment Act and Women’s Progress: Does WIA Funded Training Reinforce Sex Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap?, released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, shows that federally funded training may reinforce sex segregation and the gender wage gap.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is likely to come up for reauthorization this Congress. The Briefing Paper finds, based on data from the WIASRD Data Book, that:

  • Women on average earn $1500 to $2000 less per quarter than men after federally funded career counseling or training. After completing services, women earn 79.5 percent of what men earn among adult participants and 74.1 percent of what men can earn among dislocated workers.
  • The wage gap is not due to less training: on average women received more weeks of WIA-funded training than men.
  • WIA-funded services primarily train women for female-dominated, typically lower paying occupations and men for male-dominated, typically higher paying occupations.
  • Fewer than 3 percent of WIA exiters received training for non-traditional occupations, occupations where the opposite sex accounts for at least 75 percent of workers.
  • Previous IWPR research suggests that women typically are not made aware of the difference in potential earnings during career counseling, and that, with better information on earnings, they might have entered different training programs.

“WIA includes ‘self-sufficiency’ as a stated objective of training services. Unless greater attention is paid to the causes of the gender earnings gap after WIA services, that goal will remain elusive for many women and their families,” says IWPR Study Director Ariane Hegewisch, author of the Briefing Paper.
The Briefing Paper is based on data from the WIASRD Data Book collected by each state on men and women who received career services/training funded through the Workforce Investment Act.
To view the Briefing Paper, see 
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