Women’s Diversity Network (WDN) is committed to impacting the wage deficits and career opportunities for Black and Latina women and Black and Latinx gender-expansive people on Long Island. $26.5 billion dollars are lost on Long Island due to racial gaps in income. One of the causes of this is because Black women are paid the lowest, as are Latina women, particularly when compared to their white counterparts. Consequently, they are often forced to work more than 1 job to make ends meet. Black women are also often the heads of their households and tasked with footing most of the bills. Wealth inequities contribute to continued systemic racism and indicate a need to invest in communities of color.
To address this glaring issue WDN created a workforce development program called The Wealth Equity Fellowship, a 20-week-long program for Black and Latina women and Black and Latinx gender expansive people, designed to bridge the wealth gap by exposing fellows to different types of careers, helping them develop their soft skills, and connecting them to mentors while they get to their next career phase, with a focus on growing and in-demand industries that are hiring and paying more equitable wages. Fellows engage in coaching sessions with seasoned pros where they gain resume writing, interview, personal branding, salary negotiation, and networking skills. Unlike most workforce development programs, we connect our fellows to people who will open doors for them, because it's not always what you know, it's also who you know.
At the completion of the 20-week Wealth Equity Fellowship, the Program Manager will schedule monthly mentoring sessions with each fellow. During these meetings, fellows will develop their goals for the next 12 months. The Program Manager will give them guidance and support with those goals.
WDN will also connect them with a network of professionals working in their respective fields who will serve on an advisory board for the Wealth Equity Fellowship. These advisors will be available on an ad hoc
basis for support calls, connections to networking opportunities, and exposure to potential jobs in their respective fields.
The Project Manager and the fellows will individually complete quarterly progress reports. Every other month a virtual or in-person support meeting will be held that all of the fellows can attend. During these meetings, the fellows will give updates on their successes and some of the areas they may be having difficulty navigating. These group sessions are an excellent way for fellows to provide and receive ongoing support from each other and their mentor, as well as brainstorm, and problem-solve collectively.
The fellowship support can be open to any fellow that has completed the fellowship regardless of completion year. As the group grows the senior fellows can mentor and share information and advice while the Program Manager facilitates. The goal is that upon completion of the program, fellows will have obtained a new career with a higher salary, entered into a training program, and/or received a promotion or salary increase.