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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:20pm
Mon Mar 28

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."

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
5:02pm
Thu Mar 24

Claypool, CTU Clash Over April 1 Walkout, CPS Offers Parents 'Contingency' Plan

The Chicago Teachers Union is pushing back against Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool's assertion that the planned April 1 teacher walkout is "illegal."

The teachers union's House of Delegates voted to approve the walkout Wednesday evening, solidifying plans for Chicago public school educators to hold a one-day strike next week. But Claypool called the walkout illegal at Wednesday's Chicago Board of Education meeting, hours before the union voted on the proposed action against unfair labor practices.

"In January we reached a tentative new labor contract with CTU leadership, so we believe that a final contract can be reached if both parties continue to negotiate in good faith," said Claypool. "But rather than focusing on reaching an agreement, it is disappointing to see CTU's leadership promoting this illegal strike that would take a critical day of instruction away from our students, to say nothing of encouraging teachers to break the law."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:31pm
Thu Mar 24

Ryan Renounces Previous 'Makers And Takers' Rhetoric As Progressives Rebuke GOP 'Austerity' Budget Plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) expressed regret this week for his past comments against poor Americans, saying in a major speech Wednesday that he was wrong for calling people "makers and takers."

"There was a time that I would talk about a difference between 'makers' and 'takers' in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized something. I realized that I was wrong," Ryan said during his speech about the state of American politics. "'Takers' wasn't how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her family. Most people don't want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn't castigate a large group of Americans just to make a point."

In a question and answer session after his speech, delivered before a group of House interns, Ryan added, "I was callous and I oversimplified and I castigated people with a broad brush. That's wrong. And there's a lot of that happening in America today. I myself have made that mistake."

Despite Ryan's noteworthy change in rhetoric, and his push this year to make combating poverty a top GOP priority, critics say his policies speak for themselves.

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