The Office of Fort Lewis College President Dene Thomas has purchased a license to offer Start Smart workshops from the American Association of University Women. The workshops teach women entering the workforce how to negotiate their first salary.
Starting a career fresh out of high school or college is often where women begin experiencing the gender pay gap, and since raises are usually based on a percentage of current salary, they never catch up.
“AAUW’s research on the gender pay gap shows that, one year out of college, women are already paid significantly less than their male counterparts,” the organization says on the website for its Start Smart workshops.
“In 2009, women one year out of college who were working full time were paid, on average, just 82 percent of what their male peers were paid. And those lost potential earnings add up over a lifetime.”
The first workshop will be offered Thursday and facilitated by FLC Professor Emerita Marcy Jung, who taught exercise science and gender and women’s studies, and associate professor Amy Sellin, chairwoman of the FLC Modern Languages Department. Sellin, who also teaches gender and women’s studies, is the college’s liaison with the Durango Branch of AAUW.
“It’s a whole process,” Jung said. “They learn to evaluate, ‘What is my value?,’ research what others in the field are making and figure out what their target starting salary should be based on their experience.”
The Start Smart workshop also gives tips and participants role-play negotiation tactics.
“It’s important to remain positive and flexible,” Jung said, “so you allow the employer to engage. Listening skills and learning how to advocate are key, and the goal is to build confidence in your own value. This is not a battle, it’s a conversation.”
This workshop, Jung said, is designed for women at the beginning of their careers. AAUW also has a Work Smart workshop for women already in the workforce. Jung hopes a community organization will purchase the licensing rights to that workshop so it can be offered locally as well.
The Start Smart workshop license is good for three years, and Jung hopes to offer it several times during that period.