Panel: Women in STEM and Non-Traditional Occupations Careers – Barriers and Successful Strategies
(Employment and Training Programs)

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
8209 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Gloria Salas-Kos, U.S. Department of Labor
Discussants:  Tiffany Boiman, U.S. Department of Labor and Julie Kuklinski, Women in Construction, Moore Community House

Creating an Evidence-Base - Feasibility Study and Evaluation of Non-Traditional Occupation (NTO) Demonstration
Neha Nanda, Carolyn Corea, Luke Patterson, Eileen Poe Yamagata and Paula Mian, IMPAQ International, LLC

A Review of Barriers and Strategies Aimed at Increasing Women’s Participation in NTO Training Programs for Women
Ariane Hegewisch1, Neha Nanda2, Carolyn Corea2 and Luke Patterson2, (1)Institute for Women's Policy Research, (2)IMPAQ International, LLC

Non-Traditional Occupations (NTOs) are occupations where specific populations are traditionally underrepresented. DOL defines NTOs as those in which individuals from one gender or minority group constitute less than 25 percent of those employed in such occupations. For women, increasingly, these occupations tend to be in high-demand high-growth fields such as advanced manufacturing or Information Technology.


Barriers associated with entry into NTOs can prevent these populations from accessing employment in certain occupations and realizing the benefits of that employment, including economic self-sufficiency, higher wages, broader job opportunities and advancement potential. Studies have shown that employment in NTOs can lead to higher paying jobs for women without a four-year college degree. These higher paying jobs, including those with opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge in occupations with sustainable and innovative career pathways, also have the potential to address the gender wage gap.


According to BLS employment projections data, the top 25 highest paying NTOs for women largely consist of STEM-related occupations, which offer wages far over the U.S. median annual wage of $45,790, promising high levels of financial security for entrants. In 2016, women represented less than 15 percent of workers among six of those 10 occupations.

Further, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act and the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act require that training programs ensure equal opportunity and participation for a list of underserved populations that includes women.  


This panel focuses on workplace and education-related barriers that prevent women from entering NTOs and a behavioral experiment aimed at nudging women to apply for an NTO training program. The Hegewisch et al study discusses workplace-related barriers such as misperceptions of occupations and lack of supportive services and successful strategies such as pre-apprenticeship programs and family-friendly policies that can help reduce these barriers.


The Lois Joy study focuses on opportunities and barriers for women’s participation in STEM-based work-based- learning (WBL) programs in community colleges. Importantly, it explores existing evidence of WBL programs on impacts on STEM educational and career outcomes among women. This research contributes significant new understanding about WBL in the community college STEM context, including who participates in WBL in community college STEM (and why); variations in the structure and quality of WBL in community college STEM by program area and college; the potential for WBL to broaden participation in community college STEM; and its impacts on completion and postgraduate transitions to STEM careers and further STEM education.


Finally, we present the results of a unique and innovative behavioral RCT study of a NTO-themed recruitment content aimed at nudging women to take short-term steps towards applying to an NTO training program directed at women. The study, funded by DOL, evaluates the effectiveness of a multi-pronged recruitment intervention that reduces the awareness and perception barriers of women against NTOs with two grantees of the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI): Central New Mexico for an Information Technology apprenticeship program and, Partnership for Advanced Technology Apprenticeships in Manufacturing and Marine Engineering (PATAM) program in South Seattle for Advanced Manufacturing and Construction pre-apprenticeships.

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