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Michigan Partners Project
• While overall, women represent a majority of those enrolled in Michigan higher education programs, low income women often do not complete those degrees due to work and family conflicts.
• Most Michigan women living in poverty have jobs that offer no paid sick days or protection from dismissal when taking time off to care for sick children.
· These problems become multifaceted when they are compounded by racism and the challenges of single parenting.
Advancing economic security among Michigan low-income women requires comprehensive policies that are data-driven, community-rooted and responsive to women's barriers and assets. Understanding this, the Ford Foundation provided grant funding for CEW to manage the Michigan Partners Project between 2013-2016. The initial role of CEW was to convene discussions between key stakeholders: Faculty researchers from all three U-M campuses, other Michigan colleges, along with representatives of nonprofit organizations, advocates, and low-income women themselves. For a complete list of organizations affiliated with MPP, go here.
In order to accomplish the goals of the project, CEW brought a wide range of stakeholders together during the first year to develop the ongoing network and determine the agenda for the next two years. In conjunction with the project, and as part of CEW’s 50th anniversary, the Center hosted a May 2014 conference on economic security and mobility for women. This conference, funded as a “Michigan Meeting” by the Rackham Graduate School, included not only partners in the Michigan Partners Project but other state and national experts who contributed to the discussion.
MPP's academic and community partners identified the following policy areas as needing the most attention:
- Earned paid sick days
- College education
- Affordable, quality child care
- Safety net programs for which women and families are eligible
In 2015-2016, MPP began publicizing the first two of these issues through it's MPP Spokeswomen, described below. It also supported conferences like the Black Women's Summit (led by MPP partner Mothering Justice) and Equal Pay Day Coalition events, which addressed the broader list of policies. See the Activities page for more information.
A final component of the MPP grant was capacity building for individuals and organizations working to increase economic security for low-income women in Michigan, particularly women of color. This was accomplished in two ways:
- MPP policy research on paid sick days and college supports for student parents led to briefing papers and PowerPoint presentations that can be used by the general public. See our Resources page!
- Following a survey assessment of advocacy training needs of staff and individuals involved with MPP-affiliated organizations, CEW arranged for professional trainers to provide skills development opportunities.
The Michigan Partners Project believes that the most powerful agents for women's economic security are women who have stories speaking to the intersection of lived experience and policy. MPP developed three spokeswomen who advocate through powerful and engaging narratives. These Detroit-area women are still available to speak to a variety of audiences.
To learn about these women and how you can
host one at your next event, go here.
MPP Spokeswoman Kindra Speech addresses Lansing rally on Equal Pay Day, surrounded by state legislators
MPP resources include policy briefs, reports, PowerPoint presentations, fact sheets and webinars. To review what's available, visit our Resources page.
Over fifty different organizations across Southeastern Michigan partnered with or supported MPP activities and educational work between 2013 - 2016. To view a list of our advisors, partners and supporters, visit the MPP Partners page.
MPP members engaged in a variety of activities between 2013 - 2016. View a snapshot of the action here!
If you have specific questions regarding the Michigan Partners Project, please contact Beth Sullivan, MPP Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.