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Exclusive: Listening to Women—Obama’s Jobs Proposal
Ellen Bravo highlights Obama’s Jobs Proposal. She notes that men have gone back to work at three times the rate of women since the official end of the recession. She also highlights women’s heightened vulnerability to changes in Social Security and Medicare.
The president’s plan would invest $30 billion to save jobs for up to 280,000 teachers. Given that women make up about 78 percent of teachers in this country, that’s a huge investment in women’s employment.
The American Jobs Act does include a lot of construction jobs, and—unlike the 2009 Recovery Act—$50 million in funds specifically geared towards job training for women, people of color and other under-represented groups in those jobs, targeting workers in the local areas where the jobs will be done. They would be trained for transportation-related activities, including construction, contract administration, inspection, and security. Another $10 million will help minority-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises gain better access to transportation contracts, in turn helping strengthen and grow small businesses that help drive local economies.
Jobs would also be created to fix the nation’s crumbling schools. The proposal calls for a robust $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools—that means creating jobs that have a direct tie to improved learning for our kids. Funds could be used for a broad range of purposes, including repair and renovation projects, greening and energy efficiency upgrades, asbestos abatement and removal, and modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs and to upgrade technology.
President Obama is also proposing $5 billion to modernize community colleges—another area with many female employees—and to rehabilitate homes.
Several other features of the proposed plan would benefit women:
Extending into 2012 additional unemployment benefits. That could help 2.6 million American women currently receiving unemployment insurance from losing their benefits as they continue to look for work.
Extending the payroll tax cut, putting more money into workers’ pockets.
Supporting legislation prohibiting discrimination against the long-term unemployed.
Expanding work-sharing to help avoid layoffs. This would save jobs by allowing workers who reduce their hours to receive unemployment benefits for that time, and all stay on the job.