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2000--WEEA Program Implementation Grants
Tradeswomen of Tomorrow Initiative
Promotes young women’s awareness of, access to, and retention in nontraditional training programs. Offer hands-on activities, nontraditional career awareness and promotion, female peer networking opportunities, mentoring, and career development and transition assistance services. Primary audience: girls and young women in grades 7-12.
The project is working to increase the higher education and job options of women with disabilities. It addresses the fact that only 16 percent of all women with disabilities are likely to have any college education, compared with 31 percent of nondisabled women and 28 percent of men with disabilities. In addition to implementing a mentoring curriculum at postsecondary institutions, the five year project (2000-2005) is building the capacity of the colleges disability services and career services staff to assist women with disabilities launch their careers, and developing a statewide coalition dedicated to improving their employment opportunities.
The project is focusing its efforts on three sites in Massachusetts Cape Cod Community College, Massachusetts Bay Community College, and the University of MassachusettsBoston. The program involves working with disability services and career services staff at each college to develop a student-centered, student-driven mentoring program for women with disabilities. To assist the colleges in providing accessible and informed services to students with disabilities, the project offers consultation and support to each college on an as-needed basis (i.e., information and resources on creating accessible career services, disability and employment rights and issues, etc.).
Although it is still in the early stages of development, a critical impact has been the increased communication between career services and disability services offices within and among the institutions involved in the project. Surprisingly, many of the players at the individual colleges did not know each other or know others in similar positions beyond their own institutions, prior to involvement in this project. Disability services focused on the in-school experience and needs of students with disabilities, and career services focused on the career needs of the general mainstream. This project is fostering connections and mutual understanding of employment and disability issues, and creating opportunities for lasting collaborations within each college and among all project members.
Gateway to Success is working specifically to increase the number of Latinas with college degrees in science, engineering, and mathematics. The project helps participants develop proper study habits, a scholarly attitude towards school/university work, and a dedication to academic excellence; trains them to use library resources to include electronic information retrieval systems and independent bibliographical research; and helps them develop effective communication skills. Perhaps most importantly, the project provides participants with role models of women science, engineering and mathematics teachers/faculty. This has been identified as the most important element in early intervention with pre-college women.
The project design is based on the successful experience of University of Puerto RicoHumacao in the admission and retention of women in these fields. Components include a summer English immersion program, hands-on work at a high technology laboratory, a leadership seminar with science teacher/faculty mentors, a computer literacy and information systems workshop, an effective communications program, a graphic calculator workshop, and a standardized test achievement and skills workshop. Participantsselected from three public middle schools and three public high schoolsare sponsored through their secondary education and tracked at the college/university level.
The success of the five-year program (2000-2005) will be measured by an increase in the English language comprehension and fluency of project participants as measured by standardized tests, and 85 percent of the participants scoring at least at the 75 percentile of women taking the College Entrance Examination Board test
Hind’s County Women Inmates’ Literacy and Education Program
This project is providing female inmates in the custody of the Hinds County Sheriffs Department with the same literacy, postsecondary, and vocational education opportunities as those provided to the male inmates. The services of this four-year project (2000-2004) include offering the female inmates the chance to read and write so that they may continue their education in the departments high school equivalency program, as well as the opportunity to learn technological skills that will enhance their opportunity for employment after they are released.
The project is developing train-the-trainer workshops on issues such as creating equitable classrooms, sexual harassment prevention, conducting equity climate self-evaluations, and developing life action plans. The project will also assist the South Dakota school-to-work system by developing models for equity and career awareness, career exploration, and career planning for all K-14 students, with an emphasis on developing equitable learning environments and promoting high-wage careers that lead to self-sufficiency.
The target population is quite broad and includes girls in K-12, pregnant and parenting teens, school dropouts, alternative school students, single mothers, and displaced homemakers. There is also an emphasis on serving Native American and other women and girls of color. Economic and educational needs are the primary criteria for choosing participants. The project also serves educators and administrators including classroom teachers, counselors, school administrators, support staff, personnel at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal schools, parents and community members.
The five-year project (2000-2005) is a collaboration of South Dakota Women Work!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women from diverse backgrounds and assisting them to achieve economic self-sufficiency, and Southeast Technical Institute, a two-year institution whose mission is to develop and provide high-quality technical education.
Young Women’s Leadership Alliance
The Young Womens Leadership Alliance in Santa Cruz, California, is an effort to engage high school girls at three schools in the Santa Cruz School District in activities to identify and address gender equity issues. The five-year project (2000-2005) has three components: building equity awareness through interactive workshops on the barriers to educational and career advancement, conducting equity research to measure and document areas of local inequity, and taking action for equity in which the girls focus on creating systemic change in their schools based on their research findings.
The project is a collaboration between Education, Training and Research Associates, a nonprofit organization, and the Santa Cruz City School District, Harbor High School, Santa Cruz High School, Soquel High School, She Rocks, and the Santa Cruz Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. The program is designed to have an impact at three levels: the 450 girls directly involved in the leadership groups, all students at these schools, and the overall school and district policies and actions in the area of gender equity in education.
The following outcomes are expected for the participants in the program:
In its second year, early indications show that the project is meeting its objectives, particularly those related to the girls themselves. Data collected from participants, including pre- and post-test surveys, weekly reactions, and interviews with a subgroup after completion of the program suggest that girls are experiencing an increase in assertiveness and school leadership as well as marketable skills. It is still too early to tell about the impact on school climate and school programs and policies.
The project is working to reduce bias and increase respect for gender differences and disability-related diversity by providing high school students with information about disabled women and men in history, biology, civics, health, and literature. Very little information about women and girls with disabilities is available for use in the curriculum, classrooms, or libraries of high schools. This lack creates the impression that women and girls with disabilities do not exist or if they do, that their accomplishments and lives are unimportant. Disabled boys and nondisabled peers and educators also need this knowledge to reduce stereotyping and negative learning environments.
The Disabled Womens Alliance, under the sponsorship of the San Francisco Womens Center, Inc., is conducting a research and development project to create a website, CD, and teachers guides that will address the need for gender and disability sensitive high school materials. These materials will incorporate the input of disabled and nondisabled girls and boys, adult women with disabilities, and other experts in the development and evaluation of products. The three-year project (2000-2003) will conduct focus groups and pilot tests in four sites across the U.S. that will help develop, test, and evaluate the impact and success of these materials.
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