Based on data from interviews with fifteen black and fifteen Latina women in entry-level jobs, this article discusses job access strategies, patterns of job mobility, and barriers to upward job mobility for low-income minority women in the hospital industry. Concentrated in the lowest wage levels and job tiers, they are quite diverse in subgroup composition, in age, and in training requirements. The research confirms that deficiencies in schooling and skills remain the major obstacles minority women confront when they apply for hospital jobs and restrict their opportunities once they are within the hospital labor market. Efforts to provide training and schooling opportunities have to address the constraints imposed on the women by work, family responsibilities, and modest income. The varied training requirements of women placed in entry-level tiers dispel the notion that they all have the same skill and aptitude levels. They ask that hospital employers and community-based training organizations develop better skill assessment instruments to improve the job-placement process so that potential employers cease equating absence of credentials or linguistic accents with low skills and low intelligence. The author analyzes the urgency to articulate services in a competitive adult and higher education environment and the pressing need of minority women to locate alternative mechanisms of demonstrating competence and securing school credentials in the United States. The women speak eloquently about the racism they encounter in the hospital workplace and of their need to identify means of support that enable them to attain the transfers, promotions, and recommendations they require to succeed inside the hospital labor market.



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