TITLE: Families and Work Institute

Access: http://www.familiesandwork.org/

The Families and Work Institute (FWI) is a research center providing data on the social changes affecting the United States workforce. Established in 1989, FWI identifies emerging trends and issues with the goal of "shaping the language of debates to move the discussion forward." FWI has addressed subjects such as child care, balancing work and family, and is currently exploring the benefits of flexibility in the workplace.

FWI is not a clearinghouse or an online research library. Instead the FWI site presents information on studies conducted in conjunction with corporate funders and foundations. It has produced Highlights of the National Study of the Changing Workforce, which traces trends in the workplace over the last 25 years. This study covers topics such as the affect of technology on employees, changes in men and women's family life, and the growth of small independent-owned businesses. The research published by FWI is available for purchase from the Web site.

Another resource, which is free to site visitors, is the "Community Mobilization Forums" (CM Forum). It provides information and previously successful strategies, which individuals or groups may follow or adapt to enact change at the local level. Although not complete at review time, the CM Forum has valuable case studies to download.

The FWI's target audience is employers, employees, parents, community advocates, and educators. Since the Web site is not a clearinghouse, it may be of limited interest for academic users. Students may submit questions to the FWI staff but are warned of a two week response time. They are encouraged, however, to consult their library resources and online databases before contacting the FWI. Librarians with human resources or management programs may find the publications welcome additions to their collections. Executive summaries of most of the research publications are available via the Web site.

It is difficult to determine the age of the site and frequency of updates; some pages are dated, while others are not. A menu is located on the left of every page within the site, making for easy navigation. The FWI site is clearly organized and simple to use.

Kimberly Bartosz
University of Wisconsin Parkside

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