San Francisco Mayor London Breed Wednesday teased another piece of her upcoming budget proposal with the announcement of a new initiative to support women and children in meaningful ways.

The Women and Families First Initiative is a collaboration with multiple city agencies and nonprofit service providers to provide 300 women job training in industries expected to grow as The City recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. The job training programs will help lead women in careers healthcare, technology, construction, hospitality and other emerging fields.

During a press conference at City Hall, Breed stressed the importance of investing in women, especially considering the unique challenges they have faced since March 2020.

She said:

“There were challenges with childcare, challenges with school, access to transition to new and rewarding opportunities in the work industry. Women have suffered…during this pandemic.”

In a statement released by the Office of the Mayor, Breed added:

“Women, and particularly women with children, have experienced higher rates of unemployment throughout the course of the pandemic. Even before Covid-19, women were getting paid less than men doing similar work.” 

Jerold Chinn/SFBay Mayor London Breed announces the Women and Families First Initiative in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

A number of training opportunities will be available within The City’s existing workforce programs, including the HealthCare Academy, the TechSF program and the CityBuild Academy. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development will lead outreach efforts to identify women impacted by the pandemic.

Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development Kate Sofis said:

“This is the first, and it will not be the last, that women and their children and their families are a key part of our economic recovery plan, a key part of equity in the city and a key part of our future.”

The mayor also aims to ease the financial burden of childcare for 800 children with tuition credits that will go to early child care and education providers in The City’s network. Breed is proposing a 20 percent tuition credit, an average of $6,000 annually, to support moderate-income families.

Funding for tuition credits will come from revenue generated by Proposition C, which was approved by voters in 2018. The Office of Early Care and Education will administer the childcare tuition program.

Supervisor Myrna Melgar joined Breed at the press conference and said that women cannot go back to the way it was socially and economically for women before the pandemic:

“We need to make sure that women have the tools that they need to succeed and that children have their needs met.”

The total cost of the Women and Families First Initiative will account for $6 million of the mayor’s upcoming two-year budget proposal, which should be formally introduced June 1.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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