Over the last few decades, the participation of women in the workforce has significantly increased. According to U.S. Department of Labor, women currently comprise 47 percent of the workforce, and they are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. The following WSS profiles highlight ways through which workforce development programs can better meet and support the diverse needs of women, with a focus on low-income women of color. 

Sources of Economic Hope: Women's Entrepreneurship. 2014. The report examines the potential of women in entrepreneurship to boost the U.S. economy. In particular, the report explains how “…given the slowing rates of business creation, the long-term pessimism about growth in the United States, and the rising share of women among educated workers, it seems clear that the future of American entrepreneurship and growth is in the hands of women.” The report included results from a survey “of women who were founding CEOs, presidents, chief technology officers, or leading technologists of tech startups founded between 2002 and 2012” to identify the main challenges for women-owned firms.

Blueprint for Investing in Girls and Young Women. 2015. The report, published in September of 2015, takes a closer look at the outcomes of young women of color living in poverty in New York City. It notes that, “According to the 2010 census, New York City is home to approximately 800,000 girls and young women, ages 9-24. Nearly 75% in that group are girls of color (black, Asian or Latina). Nearly 40% are immigrants or the daughters of immigrants. And a significant segment lives in absolute or near poverty. The report also provides recommendations for stakeholders to consider when investing in resources that may improve the outcomes for these young women.  

Investing in Change:  Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities for Women in the Washington Region’s Labor Force. 2015. In this report, the authors “share the latest employment and labor force participation trends for working women in the Washington region, with a particular focus on low-income women. [The authors] identify some of the strategies of successful workforce development programs that support these women, and conclude with concrete steps that funders, policymakers, advocates, employers, and individuals can take to provide women with the effective education and job training programs they need to build economic security and change the trajectory of their lives.”