Young women & girls essential partners in growing Vermont’s economy

Editor’s note: Material from an e-newsletter about Vermont Works for Women’s report was published on VTDigger.org yesterday instead of this complete press release.

NEWS RELEASE — Vermont Works for Women
April 30, 2013

Contact: Marybeth Redmond
[email protected]
802.488.0531 (cell)

…yet they tell us they are ill-equipped and under-prepared, according to new research by Vermont Works for Women

WINOOSKI, VT –Vermont Works for Women released a report on Tuesday, April 30 at the Vermont State House in Montpelier, revealing that many young women across the state consider themselves ill-equipped and under-prepared for the challenges of school, work, career, economic independence, and ultimate adulthood.

The report, which incorporates national research and references best practices, is entitled, “ENOUGH SAID – Young Women Talk about School, Work and Becoming Adults: Why We Should Listen and What We Can Do.” It is the result of in-depth interviews, surveys, and listening to more than 210 young women and girls, ages 15-25, from 28 communities, Brattleboro to St. Johnsbury, the majority from families of limited financial means. (Please access the summary and full report here.)

The report provides a qualitative snapshot of the current concerns that young women in Vermont hold, which focused in these primary areas: 1) lack of practical skills related to personal finance; 2) fears around how to live independently; 3) relational aggression among female peers; 4) few personal allies or networks to provide support; 5) minimal exposure to a broad range of careers and professional female role models; and 6) limited expectations for work that taps into talent and passion.

Responding to these findings, more than 25 business, government and community leaders from across the state (in attendance at the 4/30 press conference) have committed to participate in a newly formed Task Force on Young Women and the Economy, understanding the vital relationship between the work/career success of young women and the state’s economic potential (see attached list of task force members).

Former Ambassador Linda Tarr-Whelan, of Burlington, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and author of the award-winning book, Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World, will chair the task force. She will be assisted by vice chairs: Cary Brown, Executive Director, Vermont Commission on Women; Joyce Judy, President, Community College of Vermont; and Barbara Murphy, President, Johnson State College.

The task force will convene on Wednesday, May 29th with a clear six-month charge to develop a series of “commitments and partnerships.” More specifically, the group will identify effective efforts already in place; determine where combined and complimentary resources and expertise can address the needs articulated by these young women; and recommend strategic investments in programming, or changes in policy or priorities. The group’s commitments will be announced publicly in December 2013 before the start of the next legislative session.

“ENOUGH SAID has hit a nerve with both men and women in leadership roles across the state,” said Tiffany Bluemle, Executive Director, Vermont Works for Women, the task force convener, “and we look forward to working with the task force in the coming months. Our focus on young women shouldn’t be interpreted to suggest that boys or young men don’t face many of the same challenges. But the choices that young women make determine their future earning potential – and, as the report makes clear, women in Vermont and in the United States, across age and educational levels, are nearly twice as likely as men to live in poverty. Vermont will only reach its full economic potential if all Vermonters – including women and girls — can live up to theirs.”

Press conference speakers included:
• Joey Donovan, Chair, House Education Cmte., Vermont House of Representatives
• Tiffany Bluemle, Executive Director, Vermont Works for Women
• Amanda Preston, Senior, American School; VWW Youth Advisory Council member
• Armando Vilaseca, Secretary, Vermont Agency of Education
• Beth Pearce, Vermont State Treasurer
• Mike Smith, Vermont State President, Fairpoint Communications
• Linda Tarr-Whelan, Task Force Chair

Vermont Works for Women is a nonprofit organization founded in 1987 to help women and girls recognize their potential, and explore, pursue, and excel in work that leads to economic independence. Through innovative programming, VWW assists women and girls in thinking about their lives in the broadest terms and helps them develop skills and capacities critical to their long-term economic self-sufficiency. For more information: www.vtworksforwomen.org.

TASK FORCE ON YOUNG WOMEN AND THE ECONOMY

Linda Tarr-Whelan, Chair –Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos; former Ambassador
Cary Brown, Vice Chair – Executive Director, Vermont Commission on Women
Joyce Judy, Vice Chair – President, Community College of Vermont
Barbara Murphy, Vice Chair – President, Johnson State College
Jan Blomstrann – President/CEO, NRG Systems, Inc.
Tiffany Bluemle – Executive Director, Vermont Works for Women
Nancy Burzon, Executive Director, Rutland Region Workforce Investment Board
Kim Coe – Director of Residential and Community Treatment Programs, Lund
Lisa Falcone – Community Impact Manager/Income, United Way of Chittenden County
Dolly Fleming – Executive Director, Mercy Connections
Cheryl Hanna – Professor, Vermont Law School
Nancy Heydinger – Executive Director, Girls on the Run
Retta Huttlinger – Manager of Major Gifts, Vermont Public Radio
Lindsey Lathrop – Assistant Director, Navicate (formerly Linking Learning to Life)
Marian Lawlor – Manager, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM
Pam Mackenzie – President/CEO, DeckerZinn, LLC; Chair, South Burlington City Council
Alex MacLean – Project Manager, Northeast Kingdom Economic Revitalization Initiative
Beth Pearce – Vermont State Treasurer
John Pelletier – Director, Center for Financial Literacy, Champlain College
Jen Peterson – Vice President for Community Grantmaking, Vermont Community Foundation
Kesha Ram – Representative, Chittenden 3-4 District, Vermont State Legislature
Jay Ramsey – Career and Technical Education Workgroup Coordinator, VT Agency of Education
Mark Redmond – Executive Director, Spectrum Youth and Family Services
Beth Sachs – Founder, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation Trish Sears – Executive Director, Newport City Renaissance Corporation
Michael K. Smith – Vermont State President, Fairpoint Communications
Tom Torti – President, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce

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