Career & Financial Literacy
Many job seekers experience uncertainty when planning for future employment and the income needed to support themselves and their families. Without knowing the local cost of living and how much jobs pay, it is difficult to plan for the education and training needed to reach economic security. Workers must determine their economic security needs, identify and understand career paths of interest and develop individual career plans that will maximize their independence, economic security and asset development. WOW advocates for the improvement of policies and adequate funding for career and financial literacy on the national and state levels. WOW also conducts, and provides train-the-trainer assistance for, its Connections to Careers workshop series. Connections to Careers draws upon WOW’s long experience in workforce training and development, its proprietary labor market research tools and its Family Economic Security Project
. Special versions of Connections to Careers address the specific needs of teens, older workers, survivors of abuse and ex-offenders.
Savings & Assets
Since meeting basic monthly living expenses alone leaves families vulnerable to large unexpected expenses, workers must develop assets to attain both short-term and lifelong economic security. Due to a historic and ongoing pay gap and discriminatory lending practices, women, and particularly women of color, hold fewer assets and have less wealth than others have. WOW supports the use of public policy to support asset building through automatic savings programs, matched savings in Individual Development Accounts and employer support for retirement savings.
Survivor Economic Independence & Recovery
Victims of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking experience a number of economic impacts that have life-long consequences for their economic security. Whether the result of physical, economic or emotional abuse, the financial costs of violence can thwart survivors’ efforts to be independent, re-establish their lives and recover. Survivors may be unable to address their physical and mental health needs, access the justice system, purchase safety measures and relocate due to significant financial costs and systemic barriers. In addition, economic abuses—including compromised credit, income theft, destruction of property and disruption of school or work—are used as a tool of power and control to create dependency on the abuser. As a result, abusers thwart survivors’ ability to secure housing, transportation, or employment opportunities in the short and long-term ultimately undermining their safety.
Protecting and strengthening the economic security of survivors enables them to seek safety and access the supports needed to recover. The Economic Security for Survivors (ESS) Project
provides education, training and technical assistance to justice system and community service professionals to support the implementation of best practices and policies that effectively respond to and build survivor economic security.
Worker centers are community-run intervention organizations which provide support to low-wage workers who are not members of collective bargaining units. These innovative organizations are found in several industries, such as restaurants, retail, health care and domestic work. Worker centers strategize to improve wages and working conditions, provide direct services, organize and educate workers on their legal rights, and advocate on workers’ behalf. WOW partners with worker centers and coalitions, including Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, PHI and Caring Across Generations Campaign, on key issues like wages and employment protections. WOW also provides research and modeling to support worker centers’ education and advocacy agendas.