The New York State Senate has given final legislative passage to a bill, co-sponsored by Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, that would expand workforce assistance and training programs for women so they qualify for higher paying careers.
"Women are increasingly becoming the sole or majority economic supporter of their families," Maziarz said. "The problem today is that despite legislative attempts to correct the situation, women are still earning only about 80 percent of what men are, and jobs that are traditionally held by women pay significantly less. This legislation will continue to help close the gap by providing more training, counseling and referral efforts to assist women in obtaining higher paying jobs to support themselves and their family."
The legislation (S6429A) would add a workforce training program within the state Department of Labor that is specifically intended to help women seek higher paying jobs. The program would include: current information about careers that offer higher salary and compensation; counseling, skills development and training that encourage women to seek jobs with higher earning potential; and referrals to employers offering such jobs.
"The YWCA would like to thank Senator Maziarz for his leadership on this critical piece of legislation. It marks the recognition by New York state's policymakers that we must take intentional steps as a society to combat the gender wage gap and poverty among New York's women," said Kelli Owens, director of government relations and public policy of the YWCAs of New York. "By passing the Women's Workforce Bill, the New York State Department of Labor and local workforce investment boards will be giving women the information they need to make better career decisions. In turn, they will seek training and jobs that lead to higher wages and self-sufficiency."
Joelle Logue, the YWCA regional president said, "As president of the northeast region, I am proud of the focus of our 22 YWCAs across the state on women's workforce development, and I applaud the tireless work and commitment of the advocacy committee led by Government Relations Director Kelli Owens and policy analyst Shannon Wong to achieve bipartisan support for this important legislation. I also want to acknowledge the efforts of Senator George Maziarz in his sponsorship of our bill that will have significant impact on improving women's economic status."
Kathy Granchelli, executive director of the YWCA Niagara, said, "The YWCA Niagara County has been in the business of empowering women economically for decades by providing them with housing, domestic violence and sexual abuse service and job training services. We believe this piece of legislation is important to our work locally not only as a social services agency, but as social change organization. Women will now have access to workforce information and training that will help move them to self-sufficiency. That is the goal of the YWCA here in Niagara County and across the country."
"This legislation is a step in the right direction in ensuring that women are afforded the same job opportunities and wages as men," Maziarz said. "I applaud the Legislature for passing this important legislation, and am excited to see the positive effects that this bill will have for our area."
The bill was also passed by the State Assembly and will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his consideration.