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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Mar 28, 2016

Expanding Middle-Skilled Jobs For Women Could Help Close Gender Pay Gap

Expanding women's access to middle-skilled jobs in growing sectors like manufacturing and information technology (IT) could help narrow the gender pay gap and improve economic security for families.

That's the key takeaway from a new study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR).

Nationwide, female full-time workers made only 79 cents for every dollar earned by men last year. The wage gap widens for middle-skilled workers in female-dominated jobs, who earn just 66 cents on the dollar paid to their counterparts in male-dominated occupations.

Women hold 55 percent of all middle-skilled jobs, i.e. those requiring a high school education but not a bachelor's degree, yet they account for only a third of workers in "good," middle-skilled occupations paying between $35,000 and $102,000 a year, IWPR found. On the flipside, women represent 86 percent of middle-skilled workers making less than $30,000 annually.

"Progress on closing the gender wage gap has slowed to a halt in the last decade," IWPR's Ariane Hegewisch, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "At the same time, employers are facing a shortage in workers who can fill these fast growing jobs in middle-skill sectors. Integrating these occupations is a win-win-win for women, employers and the economy as a whole."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Sep 29, 2015

High Unemployment Rate Maintains Grasp On Illinois African-American Communities, New Census Data Shows

Progress Illinois looks at how African Americans in Illinois fared last year in terms of unemployment rates, based on the latest American Community Survey numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Apr 13, 2015

Despite Initial Surge, Local & Federal Policies Tamp Out Renewable Energy Growth In Illinois

A recent report by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) shows that over 400 Illinois companies are now tapped into the state's clean energy supply chain for solar and wind projects.

The local solar industry supply chain includes 237 Illinois companies, including those providing installation, electrical and consulting services. The other 170 Illinois companies are working in the state's wind industry supply chain, comprised of manufacturers and diagnostic software designers as well as engineering, legal, financial and consulting firms. Collectively, the 400 plus Illinois wind and solar companies employ more than 20,000 workers, according to the report.

By comparison, there were 152 wind and 96 solar companies tied to the Illinois clean energy supply chain in 2011, according to a previous ELPC analysis.

"When a wind turbine goes up in rural Illinois, it doesn't sprout from the ground," said ELPC's Executive Director Howard Learner. "Every piece of that turbine and that wind machine ... (is) manufactured by skilled laborers and manufacturing workers" at firms located in Cicero, Elgin and Rockford, to name a few places.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Mar 9, 2015

Rauner, Illinois GOP Congressmen Call For Vote On Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Monday's Illinois Business Immigration Coalition forum featuring Gov. Bruce Rauner, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Illinois Republican Congressmen Bob Dold, Adam Kinzinger and Aaron Schock, during which the officials called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Feb 9, 2015

Report: Chicagoans Have Access To 'Abundant' Tech-Driven Transportation Options

Out of the nation's 70 largest cities, a recent report ranks Chicago as the 14th best when it comes to the availability of "technology-enabled" transportation tools and options that make it easier for people to travel without owning a vehicle.

For its study, the Illinois PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group examined whether residents in the 70 U.S. cities have access to 11 various transportation technologies, including those used to hail taxis and share rides, cars and bicycles. Researchers also looked at the availability of real-time transit information; transit scheduling and routing data; multi-modal transit apps; and virtual transit ticketing, allowing riders to pay for fares via smartphones.

"None of these options even existed a few years ago, and the trend is just beginning," Abe Scarr, director of the Illinois PIRG Education Fund, said in a statement. "Technological advances are giving people new and convenient ways to get around more freely without having to own a car."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Oct 24, 2014

First-Time Candidate Seeks GOP Incumbent's Defeat In 20th State House District

Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the race for the 20th district state representative seat, which pits first-time candidate and law student Mo Khan against long-serving GOP incumbent Mike McAuliffe.