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MC 672

Wider Opportunities for Women, Inc.. Additional records of Wider Opportunities for Women, Inc., 1966-2003: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

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Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College


Processing of this collection was made possible by the generosity of Clara Schiffer and the supporters of the Schlesinger Library to the Maximum Access Fund.

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 672
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Wider Opportunities for Women, Inc.
Title: Additional records of Wider Opportunities for Women, Inc., 1966-2003
Date(s): 1966-2003
Quantity: 22.51 linear feet (54 file boxes) plus 5 photograph folders, and electronic records)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Additional records of Wider Opportunities for Women, Inc., which include administrative and financial records; membership records; minutes; training materials; publications; clippings; and photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 2005-M6
These additional records of Wider Opportunities for Women were given to the Schlesinger Library by Wider Opportunities for Women, Inc. in 2005.

Processing Information:

Processed: April 2011
By: Emilyn L. Brown, with assistance from Su Ciampa

Access Restrictions:

Access. The records are unrestricted with the following exceptions: #51.8 is closed until January 1, 2042; #51.9 is closed until January 1, 2046; and #51.10 is closed until January 1, 2049.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library, except that as long as WOW exists, researchers wishing to publish extensive quotations from the records must obtain the prior written permission of the executive director of WOW; brief quotations (fewer than 250 words in any one publication) may be made with the permission of the Director of the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Wider Opportunities for Women Additional records, 1966-2003; item description, dates. MC 672, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Wider Opportunities for Women Records, 1965-1987 (90-M59--90-M71) and Wider Opportunities for Women, Inc. Additional records, 1979-2011 (2011-M235).

HISTORY

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) is a non-governmental, non-profit women's organization based in the District of Columbia. Founded in 1964, WOW was initially known as the Washington Opportunities for Women, Inc. Under the leadership of Cindy Marano, who served as executive director from 1976 to 1997, WOW's primary focus was to provide employment training programs and childcare for low income women in the District of Columbia. In 1987, WOW merged with the National Commission on Working Women, an advisory board of influential experts that included corporate executives, public policy makers, educators, and members of the media and organized labor. Aided by the commission, WOW explored non-traditional occupations (NTOs) in construction, transportation, welding, firefighting services, telecommunications, and manufacturing as a viable means of helping women overcome poverty. One of WOW's earliest nontraditional training programs was the Building and Maintenance Program initiated in 1989 and funded by the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA).
In 1990, after determining that JTPA programs did little to help women move beyond minimum wage jobs, WOW developed the Nontraditional Employment Training (NET) Project. Financial support from the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau, and the Irvine Foundation, enabled WOW to achieve the stated goals of JTPA programs, namely to improve opportunities for employment, increase wage earnings, and elevate educational and occupational skills, in order to lessen welfare dependency. The NET Project provided technical assistance at select demonstration sites in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Montana; Hartford, Connecticut; and Tulare County and Sacramento in California.
The success of the NET Project elevated WOW's stature, enabling it to play a leading role in the development and passage of the Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) Act, which amended JTPA in December 1991. NEW Act, which became effective in July 1992, further broadened the effectiveness of JTPA for federal, state and local governments. The resulting four-year demonstration project, providing $1.5 million a year to institutionalize training for non-traditional occupations, placed greater emphasis on planning, setting goals, and reporting job placement and retention results. The requirements also included the formation of statewide nontraditional leadership teams. Initial grants for statewide projects were made in January 1993 to the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. In addition to statewide training, WOW provided workshops for federal officials and members of Congress on the implementation of the NEW Act.
Although the JTPA and NEW Act were repealed when the Workforce Investment Act was enacted in 1998, NET and NEW Act projects paved the way for other federally-funded projects for which WOW provided recruitment and technical assistance: e.g., the Women's Pipeline Project recruited women for training in highway construction, and the Women in Apprentice and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) project was established for women seeking entry-level employment. The WANTO project also included the use of web sites to provide greater access to NTOs, and training manuals to help educate unions and employers about sexual harassment.
WOW was also highly successful in acquiring funding for a number of collaborative projects. The Women's Workplace Literacy Project, initiated in 1988, helped low-income, single mothers at four demonstration sites: WOW, Nontraditional Employment for Women in New York, the Midwest Women's Center, and the Mary Crowley Academy. Subsequent funding enabled WOW to form the Intergenerational Literacy Action Research Project (ILAR) and related programs, which emphasized functional context education, and assisted in the development and dissemination of instructional materials to approximately 500 programs across the nation. Customized workshops were also developed for program coordinators, guidance counselors, teachers, and employers involved in training young girls in vocational equity and school-to-work transition programs. In 1990, their efforts attracted the attention of former First Lady Barbara Bush, who visited their training offices.
From the mid-1990s, WOW served as lead organizer of the State Organizing Project for Family Self-Sufficiency, funded by the Ford and Annie E. Casey Foundations. The Project's primary goal was to identify the causes of poverty and provide tangible ways to achieve economic self-sufficiency. In partnership with the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the National Economic Development and Law Center, WOW helped established nationwide living standards for families, implemented workforce development projects, and addressed a number of issues associated with welfare reform.
A recognized leader in the field of employment, and particularly NTO (non-traditional occupations) training, in 2011 WOW continues to advocate for women as reflected in their influential reports, instructional videos, and web site (http: www.wowonline.org).

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in ten series:

SCOPE AND CONTENT

These additional records of Wider Opportunities for Women document its accomplishments, and include correspondence and financial records; training materials; minutes; publications; and clippings. The records were received in labeled folders; the archivist modified titles to clarify contents, weeded out duplication, consolidated loose materials, and provided the arrangement. Additional material received on floppy disks will be reformatted at some future date for inclusion in relevant series.
Series I, ADMINISTRATION, 1966-2001, n.d. (#1.1-5.9), documents WOW's day-to-day operations, financial structure, and national membership network. The records are organized in three subseries:
Subseries A, Board and general operations, 1966-2001, n.d. (#1.1-2.3), includes a small amount of correspondence and inter-office memoranda; fact sheets, flyers, and handouts; office policies and procedures; research on employment statistics and workforce trends; WOW resource material; and brief biographies of training staff. Only a few records pertaining to WOW's incorporation, its board of directors, and the National Commission on Working Women of Wider Opportunities for Women are included. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Financial, 1988-2000 (#2.4-3.3), includes budgets, cash receipts and disbursements, financial reports, and statements. Also included are unfunded grant proposals that provide insight into WOW's strategic goals. Funded proposals are included with relevant projects. Fundraising events are included in Series IX (Women at Work Awards). Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries C, National Workforce Network, 1984-2000, n.d. (#3.4-5.9), includes records of the Women's Workforce Network, which was founded in 1977 and evolved into a national coalition with members in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Member files include correspondence and financial records; directory updates; news briefs and legislative updates; and mailing lists. Also included are records related to the Leadership Development Institute (LDI), which featured Budget Crisis!, a leadership simulation game, and related training materials. Network members include WOW's affiliate organizations that operate employment programs. Affiliate files, which include organizational profiles and mission statements, newsletters, and program brochures, are organized in Series VIII (Affiliate and NTO Organizations). Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series II, NATIONAL PROJECTS, 1989-2000, n.d. (#6.1-22.3, PD.1), documents the development of WOW's NTO (non-traditional occupations) training programs and its collaborative relationship with state agencies and organizations. The records are organized in four subseries:
Subseries A, Non-traditional Employment Training (NET) Project, 1989-1997, n.d. (#6.1-10.7), includes minutes of the NET national advisory committee; proposals and contracts from the Department of Labor and the Ford Foundation; general correspondence and requests for NET information; legislation and related policies; research analysis; surveys; requests for proposals (RFPs); and training material and evaluations of NET demonstration projects and the NET Institute, which provided "training for trainers." Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Non-traditional Employment for Women (NEW) Act, 1990-2000, n.d. (#11.1-14.9), includes grant proposals, contracts, and RFPs; fact sheets, flyers, and handouts; minutes from statewide leadership team meetings; legislation; training materials; and surveys and reports. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries C, Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO), 1994-2000, n.d. (#14.10-20.4, PD.1), includes minutes of the advisory committee; correspondence and inter-office memoranda; fact sheets, flyers, and handouts; grant proposals, contracts, and project reports submitted by WOW and its organizational partners; legislation; scripts for promotional videos; and training manuals for employers and unions. Also included are records associated with two related projects: Work4Women, and Workplace Solutions, computer-based technical networks for women, employers, and unions. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries D, Women's Transportation Pipeline Project, ca.1988-1999, n.d. (#20.5-22.3), includes correspondence, grant proposals and reports submitted by WOW and its state partners, training material, and scripts used in the development of a promotional video.
Series III, STATE ORGANIZING PROJECT FOR FAMILY ECONOMIC SELF-SUFFICIENCY, 1986-2003, n.d. (#22.4-31.7), a collaborative project between the federal government and state agencies, includes records organized in three subseries:
Subseries A, Family Economic Self-Sufficiency (FESS), 1996-2003, n.d. (#22.4-25.4), includes correspondence; minutes from state and national meetings; fact sheets, flyers, and handouts; grant proposals and reports; legislation; training materials; reports and surveys; and materials related to WOW's Paths Out of Poverty Conference. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Workforce development, 1986-2001 (#25.5-29.1), includes correspondence, grant proposals and reports; legislation; and correspondence, flyers, and other material related to national campaigns for jobs. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries C, Welfare reform, 1993-2002, n.d. (#29.2-31.7), includes grant proposals and reports; legislation; transcripts of interviews; transcripts of public hearings; and training materials from workshops and seminars. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series IV, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 1982-2000 (#32.1-35.5), includes grants, proposals and reports; material related to web development; mailing lists; research data; curriculum development; and training material for various projects, including the Building Repair and Maintenance Program, Childcare Connections/Mothers at Work, the Women's College Assistance Project, Constructing Avenues to Self-Sufficiency Project (CAP), Job Connections 2000 (JC2K), Women in Homebuilding, and the Work Skills Program. Additional programs related to the District of Columbia are included in Series VI (Other Collaborative Projects). Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series V, THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT SOLUTIONS PROJECT, 1982-1993, n.d. (#35.6-36.6), includes court cases; fact sheets, flyers, and handouts; presentation materials; reports and surveys; resource booklets; publications; and training material related to workshops. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series VI, OTHER COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS, 1986-2001, n.d. (#36.7-40.6, PD.2-PD.3), includes the records of smaller, interrelated projects involving educational equity, literacy, and school-to work initiatives. The records are arranged in three subseries:
Subseries A, Equity Educational Options Project (EEOP), 1986-1998, n.d. (#36.7-37.10), includes correspondence, surveys, trainers guide, legislation, and training materials. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Literacy projects, 1988-2000 (#38.1-39.3, PD.2-PD.3), includes correspondence; financial records; grant proposals and project reports; and policies representing the Literacy in Context Project (LINC), the Women's Workplace Literacy Project, Intergenerational Literacy Research Project (ILAR) and related projects. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries C, School-to-work projects, 1993-2001, n.d. (#39.4-40.6), includes correspondence; fact sheets, flyers, and handouts; grant proposals; minutes; training guides; and material related to state initiatives. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series VII, ADVISORY BOARDS AND NATIONAL CONFERENCES, 1985-2003, n.d. (#40.7-46.2), includes records documenting the role of WOW staff members who served on advisory boards as consultants, or participated as panelists, presenters or attendees at national conferences. The records are arranged in two subseries:
Subseries A, Advisory boards, 1996-2000 (#40.7-41.7), includes minutes, reports, and correspondence related to staff members who served as consultants for various advisory councils and boards. Folders are arranged alphabetically by organization.
Subseries B, National conferences, 1985-2003, n.d. (#41.8-46.2), includes program brochures, training materials, evaluation forms, and surveys from various conferences. Folders are arranged alphabetically by organization.
Series VIII, AFFILIATE AND NTO (NON-TRADITIONAL OCCUPATIONS) ORGANIZATIONS, 1984-2001, n.d. (#46.3-51.1, PD.4), includes correspondence; organizational profiles and pamphlets; newsletters and program descriptions of affiliate member programs and organizations involved in NTO (non-traditional occupations) training in the U.S. and abroad. Folders are arranged alphabetically by region.
Series IX, WOMEN AT WORK AWARDS, 1984-1999 (#51.2-52.10, PD.5), includes correspondence; minutes from various planning committees; and descriptive program brochures of WOW's annual fundraising event, organized to give recognition to individuals and organizations that advance opportunities for women. Donor records are closed for 50 years from date of creation.
Series X, PUBLICATIONS AND PUBLICITY, 1984-2003, n.d. (#53.1-54.5, E.1), includes articles, reports, studies, and clippings. A relatively small number of newsletters were transferred to the Schlesinger Library periodicals collection; consult the catalog for holdings. Customized training manuals are included with their respective projects. WOW's web site, which includes organizational history, photographs and articles about recent projects, is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection (WAX). The records are arranged in three subseries:
Subseries A, Other awards, clippings, and speeches, 1984-2001, n.d. (#53.1-53.6, E.1), includes awards received and presented by WOW, and clippings related to published studies, the Women at Work Awards, or projects in which WOW organized or provided technical assistance. Also included are press releases, letters to the editor, and speeches and presentations made by WOW staff. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Articles, reports, and studies, 1988-2003, n.d. (#53.7-54.5), includes articles, reports, and studies written by WOW staff members and consultants, and reports and studies related to WOW's local, state, and national projects. Folders are arranged chronologically with articles first, followed by reports and studies.
A selection of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Electronic records
Employment agencies--United States
Financial records
Low-income mothers--Washington (D.C.)
Minutes
Newsletters
Occupational training for women--United States
Pay equity--United States
Photographs
Poor women--United States
Public welfare--United States
Sex discrimination against women--United States
Sex discrimination in employment--United States
Sexual harassment--United States
Washington (D.C.)--Economic conditions
Washington (D.C.)--Social conditions
Web sites
Women construction workers--United States
Women--Employment--United States
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States
Women--Vocational guidance--United States
Marano, Cindy
National Commission on Working Women

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