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BSP Strengthening California June 2013 Newsletter
Building Skills Partnership represents best practices in workforce development. By training janitors at their worksites, BSP reaches a hard-to-serve, immigrant workforce and customizes training to changing industry needs. BSP does this by helping the SEIU union and California's largest building owners identify shared training interests and negotiate differences. Through BSP, these powerful stakeholders are also finding common ground on critical issues, such as immigration reform and funding for adult education. BSP brings together unlikely allies to devise new ways to strengthen California's economy. Tim Rainey, Executive Director California Workforce Investment Board
Helping Find Common Ground on Critical Issues
Picture of Victor Narro Courtesy of UCLA Labor Center
With immigration reform and the future of adult education being debated by legislators, members of BSP's board and staff are playing key roles in helping advocate for win-win solutions. As an immigrant rights leader and Project Director at UCLA's Center for Labor Research and Education, Board President Victor Narro is helping shape discussions on immigration reform bills at a national level, advising some of the country's largest foundations and unions on how to assist immigrant families post-reform, and writing a Huffington Post blog on immigration reform. Together with BSP Executive Director Aida Cardenas, Victor facilitated a panel at the California Federation of Labor's Building Workforce Partnerships conference on how the service sector and other industries could create new career opportunities for immigrants who become eligible to enter the formal workforce under immigration reform. Aida and Victor's leadership have also been instrumental in helping BSP's diverse partners, including building owners, leading janitorial contractors, high tech corporations, and the SEIU union, to agree upon and sign onto Key Principals For Immigration Reform Policy that were produced by the Council of Immigrant Integration of the California Community Foundation. BSP's Board has also agreed upon the importance of investing in adult education and has signed on to letters of support for California's adult schools at a time when their future is uncertain.
BSP on "The World", National Radio Show
BSP's training programs for janitors at large high tech companies were highlighted in the radio feature "Silicon Valley Immigrant Janitors Learning English at Work", which not only aired on BBC's national weekly radio news magazine called "The World," but also on various NPR stations in California.
At Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Stanford University and other leading Silicon Valley worksites, corporate engineers, undergraduate students, or other volunteers tutor janitors one-on-one to help them practice English, prepare for citizenship exams, or learn to use computers. This innovative practice as well as BSP's expansion statewide have been recognized nationally by the Migration Policy Institute and with a prestigious James Irvine Foundation statewide leadership award. By offering training at janitors' worksites, BSP ensures that its hardest to reach members receive what for many is a second (if not first) chance at education. "Before I worked here, I had three works (jobs), and I didn't have time for school," said an ABM janitor originally from Mexico, who now works at Google. To listen on The World click here: World in Words Podcast (Begins at 2:50 mark ) To listen on BBC Radio click here: BBC World Service (Begins at 1:02 mark )
A Leader in Workforce Development BSP's Executive Director, Aida Cardenas, recently joined Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the Workforce Leadership Symposium - Turning Vision into Action. As a City and County Workforce Investment Board Member, Aida spoke about the future of workforce development in Los Angeles.
Building Capacity BSP was awarded a new three-year AmeriCorps VISTA grant from the Corporation of National and Community Service, through which BSP will receive 4 full-time VISTA members. The VISTA members will serve one year in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Jose working to fight poverty amongst low-wage workers.
Computer Literacy Training Western Digital has awarded BSP a $9,000 grant through its WD Foundation to support computer
Immigrant Integration Resources BSP received copies of "The Immigrant Guide: What Every Immigrant Needs to Know." We thank the
literacy classes in Santa Clara County for janitors and other low-wage building service workers or their families. Thank you Western Digital!
Knight Foundation and Intercambio Uniting Communities for making this happen!
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BSP's Newsletter for June 2013