Office of the Governor Rick Perry

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Governor’s Commission for Women

Summary of Achievement

The Governor’s Commission for Women partners with economic development organizations to help strengthen women’s position in the workforce. In an effort to provide assistance to a growing segment of our population, the Governor’s Commission for Women joined with AARP and their newly developed program called WorkSearch, which offers job and career information and services to Texans who want to stay in or re-enter the workforce. 

To support survivors of domestic violence, the Governor’s Commission for Women teaches victims and their families workforce skills that help meet the needs of Texas employers, by offering workforce programs and services, training and resume-building and interviewing workshops. 

Together with Count Me In and the Make Mine a Million $ Business initiative, the commission also supports entrepreneurs in their goal of reaching a million dollars in revenue.

The Challenge

Women own more than 776,000 privately held businesses in Texas. These companies employ almost 972,000 people and generate more than $130 billion in annual sales.  Texas ranks second nationwide for woman-owned companies, in terms of number, employment and sales. 
Domestic violence is an issue that impacts every aspect of a survivor’s life and compromises their self-sufficiency and sustainability.  Domestic abuse survivors often need training and job search assistance to help them transition into an economically sustainable life.

By 2010, one in three workers will be over the age of 50.  The relative proportion of younger workers is declining and it is vital to ensure that older workers are prepared to meet the skills in demand of the 21st century workplace.

Action / Initiative

Make Mine a Million $ Business Program

The Governor’s Commission for Women partnered with Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, a non-profit micro lender for the “Make Mine a Million $ Business” competition at the 2007 Texas Conference for Women. Ten Texas women presented three-minute pitches about their companies to judges. Judges determined which individuals had the best vision, ability, and mindset for growth, realistic financing, and strong operational and marketing plans. Seven winners were selected at the end of the conference to receive marketing, financial, and other assistance to help their businesses grow.

Survivors at Work

The Governor’s Commission for Women provided $5,000 of grant assistance through its
non-profit organization to Survivors at Work, a partnership of the Upper Rio Grande at Work Development Board and the Center Against Family Violence. This initiative connects domestic abuse survivors with workforce programs and services at the Center’s Family Resource Center. The main objective of Survivors at Work is to provide domestic violence survivors and their families the opportunity to acquire workforce skills that address the needs of employers by connecting them to information regarding workforce services and programs, and training, resume and interview skills-building workshops.

AARP Foundation WorkSearch

The AARP Foundation is working with the commission to offer job assistance for women through a new program called WorkSearch. WorkSearch provides job and career information and services to individuals who are seeking to remain in, or re-enter the workforce. The program provides a variety of services, including interest and ability inventories, skills assessments, information about the community job market and connections to local training and employment opportunities at no cost to the individual.

One of the key services the program will offer is a comprehensive web-based assessment tool in hundreds of communities to assist older workers find appropriate employment and polish their skills in preparation for a job search in all fields not requiring graduate level experience.

The Outcome

The Office of the Governor has connected thousands of Texas entrepreneurs with resources to assist them with everything from business financing to job training.  Since 2001, the Governor’s Commission for Women has provided personalized referral assistance to more than 150 female entrepreneurs.

The Governor’s Commission for Women’s non-profit organization has assisted hundreds of domestic violence victims enter or re-enter the workforce through the Survivors at Work Program which was established in March 2007.  From March to October 2007, 266 domestic violence abuse survivors were assisted with job search activity, 37 were placed in gainful employment, 24 survivors entered the WIA program for either ESL/GED training, or job search and job retention supportive services and 90 received counseling.

The Governor’s Commission for Women partnered with Count Me In to help advance the goals of seven highly motivated entrepreneurs statewide who received the Make Mine a Million $ Business program Awards.  The Governor’s Office, through a grant from the Governor’s Commission for Women’s non-profit, financially supported the awardees’ business growth which accounted for total revenues of $4.04 million in 2007, up from $2.99 million in 2006, a 35% increase.  These seven companies grew their workforce by 36% in 2007.

From January to April 2008, AARP WorkSearch has served more than 1,300 Texans and more than half of the clients served were female.