The mission of Plan Indiana is to provide basic construction training to minorities, women, and disadvantaged workers in an effort to increase their access to employment opportunities. In recent years, congressional budget cuts have reduced the available resources for the WEEA and eliminated most grants. This has made it difficult to ensure equal access and equal treatment for men and women in education and employment. However, there are a number of initiatives being taken by local organizations in Indianapolis to help bridge this gap.
The curriculum provided by Plan Indiana offers a solid foundation in construction trades, basic life skills, and basic education for adults. This is helping to create more equitable opportunities for all genders in Indianapolis. Additionally, women now have access to cancer screenings, wellness consultations, and educational information so that they can be proactive in prevention. Legislative support for Title IX also comes from the 1976 amendments to the Vocational Equity Act of 1963. This measure requires states that receive federal funding for vocational education to develop and implement activities and programs to eliminate sexual prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination in vocational education.
The Office for Civil Rights enforces several federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. Despite these efforts, there is still much work to be done when it comes to ensuring equal access to education and employment opportunities for women in Indianapolis. Women make up nearly half of the American labor force, yet Indiana women still earn only about 75 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. All aspects of the employment relationship, including recruitment, selection, hiring, training, professional development, tenure, promotions, compensation, and separation must be managed in accordance with this policy.
It is important to note that the voices of African-American, Asian-American, Latino, Native American, poor, and other marginalized women are often lost in this conversation. To ensure that all women have equal access to education and employment opportunities it is essential that these voices are heard. I strongly support efforts to increase both prevention and research when it comes to diseases such as breast cancer where one in eight women are diagnosed throughout their lives. With initiatives such as job training programs for women who are unemployed or underemployed; offering mentorship programs for young women; providing resources for female entrepreneurs; creating networks of support for female professionals; and advocating for policies that promote gender equality it is possible that we will see an increase in gender equality over time.