Moms Have an Edge in The Workplace
Moms Have an Edge in The Workplace
According to the latest estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Statistics, women are projected to enter the workforce at a higher percentage rate than men over the next ten years. And the fastest growth industries will be in the computer technology sector and health industry, where a college education can make a tremendous impact.
A few short years ago, Regina Wheeler-Fairly, 40, was an entry-level data-key operator working for the state of Texas. She only had a high school diploma, and remembers how she used to marvel at the college-educated woman next to her at the office who knew how to program a computer. Now she is supervising the same people she used to idolize.
Wheeler-Farily is among the growing number of women who are advancing their careers by getting a higher education online. "It would have been impossible for me to go to a regular 'ground' college because I am a single mother and would have had to find a sitter for my four kids," recounts Wheeler-Fairly, who over the past ten years has earned three advanced degrees online in the technology field from the University of Phoenix, and is currently working towards her fourth, a PhD in organization and leadership. Kaplan University and Colorado Technical University Online have similar programs.
As blue collar jobs transfer to lower wage nations, and as more machines replace assembly line workers and clerical work becomes computerized, women can do a great service to their careers by embarking in online studies during their children's nap-time.
"At first I was skeptical about an online degree, because I like to ask a lot of questions, but once I got used to it, it was definitely for me. I could make time for my children, time for me, and time for my school work."
After completing her first advanced degree, a Bachelor's in Science and Information at University of Phoenix, her career literally catapulted. "I got a huge promotion, like $20,000 a year," says Wheeler-Fairly proudly, "and became an enterprise network technician for the city of Phoenix. My next goal, after I get my doctorate, is to move into business administration."
Online learning offers a distinct home-court advantage to mothers, who are often tied to the house for long periods of time because of the demands of parenting. A study conducted at Wellsley University recently showed that an overwhelming majority of working women who have had children cite motherhood as a training ground for leadership in their chosen fields. And because of new studies into the importance of a person's emotional intelligence, companies may be getting smarter about the advantages of hiring mothers as well.
Fortune 500 companies want to hire mothers these days, outlines Katherine Ellison in her book, "The Mommy Brain" because they know that mother's have "emotional intelligence" that will help them succeed at the "people" skills needed in their jobs. Ellison suggests four subsets of skills that mothers can claim, which put them at a distinct advantage in the marketplace: multi-tasking under pressure, dependability, leadership and caregiving.
If Wheeler-Fairly can claim one of those in abundance, it is that she cares. In fact, she serves as an inspiration to her entire community in the Avondale section of Phoenix. "Single mothers from here and back home in Texas come to me," she says, "And they say, look at you Regina, you have kids, you were a single mom, if you can do it, I can do it.' And I say to them, 'Challenges will be there. Obstacles will be there, but if you can just make up your mind, that this is what you want to do, you can just focus on it. I guarantee you can do it, too.'"
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