Building Skills Partnership

BSP Receives Grant from Western Digital Foundation

Western Digital


Western Digital has granted BSP a $9,000 grant through its WD Foundation to support BSP’s computer literacy classes in Santa Clara County for janitors or other low-wage building service workers or their families. BSP’s computer classes are mostly offered on Saturdays to accommodate the schedules of janitors who work late nights and often juggle multiple jobs during the week. BSP’s computer literacy program in Silicon Valley was highlighted in a Radio Bilingue segment entitled “Next to the great inventors, janitors learn the ABC of computers in Silicon Valley” that you can listen to in Spanish or read in English.  BSP thanks the WD Foundation for helping BSP close the stark digital divide in Silicon Valley.

Aida Cardenas Awarded 2013 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award

Recipient of 2013 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award

Recipient of 2013 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award

BSP’s Executive Director, Aida Cardenas, was recognized on February 4th by a resolution from the California State Senate for her work advancing innovative, effective solutions to critical state issues, for which she received a Leadership Award from the James Irvine Foundation.

The $125,000 Leadership Award presented by Senator Ricardo Lara will help Building Skills Partnership increase its work training over 2,000 immigrant janitors and other low-wage workers across California each year.

At a luncheon at Sacramento’s Sheraton Grand Hotel later on the Senate Floor, the James Irvine Foundation honored Cardenas’ ability to bring together unlikely allies- property owners including leading building owners, building service companies and the union representing their workers, Service Employees International Union – United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW), to collaborate on providing training to janitors and other hardest-to-reach low-wage immigrant workers at their worksites. Senator Lara also spoke of his experience translating for his parents throughout his childhood and of the importance of giving immigrant adults opportunities to learn English and other life-changing skills.

2013 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award Recipients

2013 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award Recipients

By offering vocational ESL and other training on paid work-time, BSP helps workers in seven cities overcome traditional learning obstacles – juggling multiple jobs, lack of access to child care, family obligations, transportation issues, and other challenges associated with adjusting to a new country and culture.

“It’s unique that building owners and the union work together in this way. But when you prove that it is benefits all parties—improving companies’ bottom lines along with the quality of life of service workers—that’s a win-win,” says Martha Cox-Nitikman, Senior Director for Public Policy for the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Los Angeles (BOMA-GLA). In September, BSP was also honored with a national E-Pluribus Unum award by the Migration Policy Institute for offering innovative models for immigrant integration.