Women and the American Jobs Act

Last week President Barack Obama’s address articulated his vision for an American Jobs Act.  He put a critical eye on putting Americans back to work and reversing the deep economic recession caused by the banking crisis three years ago

During his speech the president advanced several positive initiatives including extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment benefits for the chronically unemployed. His $450 billion jobs program is a significant deposit on the scope and size of the economic and jobs problem our country currently faces.

With employment growth for women lagging behind that of their male counterparts and with nearly two-thirds of women being breadwinners or co-breadwinners for their families, the Obama Administration touts that the plan they set forth last week will have a significant impact on women.

Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor for President Obama, emphasized the following points to drive home how the American Jobs Act will benefit women in particular.

Preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs – keeping teachers in the classroom:

The President’s plan will invest $30 billion to help prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs, along. If these layoffs were to occur, they would disproportionately impact women, who make up about 78% of pre-K- to 12 teachers.

An extension of unemployment insurance that will prevent 2.6 million women from losing their benefits:

The President is calling for an extension of unemployment insurance, which would prevent some of the 2.6 million American women who are currently receiving unemployment benefits from losing a crucial lifeline. This extension would be paired with reforms to help the program better serve the long-term unemployed – including the 2.8 million women who have been unemployed longer than six months.

Supporting job training and successful subsidized employment approaches:

The President’s plan would create a new Pathways Back to Work Initiative that would support successful subsidized employment programs and work-based job training that builds skills and connect participants to work. This Initiative could provide job opportunities and vital work-based training to hundreds of thousands of low-income women, many of whom are single mothers.

Over 75 million women will benefit from the extension of the payroll tax cut:

By extending the payroll tax cut next year, the President’s plan will help increase the paychecks of 77.9 million women in the workforce – providing them with more money to support their families and spend in their communities.

Too many Americans have lost their jobs, homes, and retirement savings as a direct result of the greed of the privileged few.  As it stands over 14 million people are unemployed, 8.8 million people underemployed and poverty is expanding. The President outlined a bold and hopeful plan for the future.  It’s time for Congress to show up and act.

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