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The Sociology of Job Training

ISBN: 978-0-76230-886-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-156-9

Publication date: 16 October 2003


This chapter explores the types and quality of jobs welfare recipients train for and mechanisms by which occupational gender segregation among low-wage workers persists. We report results from in-depth interviews with sixty-seven welfare case managers, employment service vocational counselors, job training administrators, and job training instructors in seven cities nationwide and short telephone interviews with one hundred and sixty-three students drawn from community colleges and other job training organizations where staff participated in the study. We look at gender-segregated patterns of referral to and enrollment in job training programs, female job training students’ interest in non-traditional training, and factors related to interest in non-traditional training. The results indicate that, while a minority of women in the sample are interested in any single non-traditional blue-collar job, a majority expressed interest in at least one non-traditional job, and 35% expressed interest in at least three non-traditional jobs. While women’s interest in non-traditional jobs seems limited, it is greater than that suggested by caseworkers’ perceptions and the pattern of caseworker recommendations and implies that reforms are needed in the welfare system to better tap women’s interest in non-traditional jobs and increase their enrollment in non-traditional training programs. Training is embedded in a larger system of gender-segregated labor markets that relegates women disproportionately to low-paying service and retail jobs. Improving opportunities for self-sufficiency for low-income women requires questioning and breaking down traditional gender norms that make women secondary economic actors.


Negrey, C., Golin, S., Lee, S. and Gault, B. (2003), "JOB TRAINING FOR WOMEN LEAVING WELFARE: ASSESSING INTEREST IN NON-TRADITIONAL EMPLOYMENT", Bills, D.B. (Ed.) The Sociology of Job Training (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 231-257.



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