Clearing the Path: "Our people are our greatest asset"
Alabamians hear it our whole lives. We’re at the bottom of this list. We’re last on that list. Sometimes we rise a few spots, but we’re continually plagued by negative headlines.
Having dedicated my career to data-driven policy advocacy impacting Alabama’s children and families, it’s quite natural that as The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham’s new president and CEO, I’ve spent much of my first few weeks unpacking numbers that detail conditions for women in our state. As you may have guessed, the picture is less than rosy. Nearly half of Alabama’s single mothers live in poverty. More than 80,000 women are economically insecure in our five-county region alone. One study lists Alabama as the third worst state for working women. Another predicts a shortage of 115,000 skilled workers by 2020.
It’s here at the intersection of skilled labor shortfalls and economic challenges for women that The Women’s Fund is putting together the pieces of a complex puzzle. We are elevating women as a targeted part of the workforce solution. It’s exciting and necessary.
The Women’s Fund uses strategy-based philanthropy as a tool to disrupt the cycle of poverty for women. We’re investing in programs that pair job training for low-income women with support like child care to create an expanded, inclusive labor pool for our state. At the same time, we’re advocating for the family-friendly workplace policies and broader systems change we know mothers need to become economically successful. The result? Everyone wins. Women start down a path to an in-demand, stable career. Employers grow and strengthen their workforce. Every Alabamian enjoys the benefits of a stronger economy.
When a woman moves forward, the entire community moves with her. I hope you’ll join us in creating change for generations to come.
This piece originally appeared on This is Alabama.