Grantee Profile: Women in Construction
The Women’s Fund of Mississippi granted $66,000 over two years (2007 and 2008) to the Women in Construction (WinC) program at Moore Community House in Biloxi. WinC is an innovative program that trains women in the construction trade so that they can attain self-sufficiency. Since its inception in 2007, WinC has graduated 45 women, with job placement rates over 60%. An entry level carpenter/general laborer makes about $10 an hour, several dollars above minimum wage. The Women’s Fund grant supported quality child care and transportation, two must-haves for working women. The Women’s Fund is proud to support effective, innovative programs like WinC. This grant illustrates our underlying theory of change: when women are economically secure, families and communities are economically secure.
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Grantee Profile: Moore Community House
Grantee Profile: Mississippi Economic Policy Center
In partnership with the William Winter Center for Racial Reconciliation and the Center for Women’s Welfare at Washington State University and the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, the Women’s Fund is a proud co-sponsor of the Self Sufficiency Standard Report for Mississippi. The Women’s Fund firmly believes that effective public policy is driven by quality, nonpartisan research.
The Self Sufficiency Standard (pdf) calculates how much a family needs to earn to live in their county without any government or private assistance. The Standard is unique in that it varies based on the county of residence, the type of family (one parent or two parents) and the number and ages of children. For example, a family of two adults, one infant, and one preschooler needs $43,956 to afford housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and taxes in Hinds County, Mississippi. This is almost double the federal poverty measure ($22,050) for the same size family. Unlike the federal poverty measure, which was developed in the 1960s and accounts only for the cost of food, the self sufficiency standard varies by county and the size and composition of families, and includes actual costs associated with living and working, such as child care and housing. In fact, child care for infants can be more expensive than tuition at the University of Mississippi for one year.
The Women’s Fund hopes this report will help the public at large understand what is involved in making the transition to self-sufficiency, as well as help policymakers understand the need for and impact of work programs on low-wage workers’ family budgets.
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Grantee Profile: Mississippi First
Over the past 2 years the WF has made two grants, a total of $30,000, to support advocacy activities of Mississippi First. Mississippi First is advocating for the adoption of medically accurate, evidence-based, comprehensive sexual health education programs in public schools. As of June 2012, 30 school boards have adopted an evidence-based, “abstinence-plus” sex education policy; this is the first time any school district in Mississippi has adopted an “abstinence-plus” and not “abstinence-only” program. Mississippi First is working with the Mississippi State Department of Health, a recipient of federal PREP (Personal Responsibility Education Program) dollars to support this effort. This is promising, as research has clearly demonstrated that “abstinence-plus” evidence-based sex education can achieve positive behavioral changes among young people and reduce unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
For more information, please visit http://mississippifirst.org/.