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American Association of University Women offer free salary negotiating program

A national organization with plenty of roots in Oregon is offering a free training that will not only teach workers to advocate for better salaries, but provide a way to close the pay gap between women and men across the United States.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is promoting its Work Smart Online course, which helps people better their financial future.

The program teaches the market value of each person's skills and experience; determines a "target salary;" and explains the best way to ask for the pay you deserve.

"It's a conversation about your fit with the company," said Gresham resident Mardy Stevens, a national board member for AAUW. "The bottom line is to not leave money on the table."

For example, salary isn't usually mentioned until after the job offer has been made, you can discuss a starting point with the knowledge that the company wants you to work for them.

"We negotiate a lot of things in our lives, it isn't just for promotions in our jobs," Stevens said.

The program has been available through the AAUW for about a decade, but was put online last fall thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Coca Cola Company. Many city governments, national organizations and universities have also been supportive of the program.

The goal for Work Smart is to train 100,000 people by August. The long-term aim is to have 10 million take the course by 2030.

"We are excited about where all this is going," Stevens said.

In addition to empowering workers, the program also supports AAUW's goal of closing the pay gap between men and women. According to the organization, women who work full time take home 80 cents for every dollar a male worker is paid. The statistics are much worse for women of color.

Federal statistics show that men tend to negotiate four times as much as women when it comes to their salary, which the organization hopes to change through Work Smart.

"We are better situated in Oregon than many other states in regards to the pay gap, but we still have a long way to go," Stevens said.

Work Smart Online is free, available to anyone, and takes about an hour to complete. It doesn't have to be finished in a single setting, as it saves your progress as you go. To sign up, visit to take the course.

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