HABLA Dia and Noche classes are underway, thanks to the partnership of Stanford University, Palo Alto Adult School, and SEIU!
This unique program connects Stanford students with the custodians who work at the university to build confidence in English language skills. The program fosters the relationship between the students and the worker as well as empowers the worker with English language literacy through one-on-one tutoring.
BSP has received a two-year grant of $50,000 from Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), The Atlantic Philanthropies, The California Wellness Foundation and The SCAN Foundation through the California Latino Age Wave Initiative (CALAWI). This grant will increase BSP’s capacity and programming to better serve aging Latino immigrants in California. The objective of this project is to develop organizational approaches for integrating Latino older adults into existing work in the following areas: (1) preventative health, (2) citizenship & immigration advocacy and (3) financial education for retirement. Through this project, BSP will continue working with janitors, who as service workers are one of the hardest to reach populations, and even more difficult for older workers above age 50.
On July 22, 2013, BSP’s Executive Director, Aida Cardenas, was a guest panelist at the Brooking Institute Metropolitan Policy Program to discuss immigrant integration. The discussion examined the potential impact of immigration reform legislation on local areas and highlighting innovative initiatives from around the country. BSP was highlighted as a best practice model. The program included remarks from Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Brookings senior fellow, Audrey Singer.
BSP’s Executive Director, Aida Cardenas, is featured on UCLA Website for her contributions to ensuring property service workers have access to training and education. “She was embraced by the janitors and won the respect of her colleagues for her hard work and dedication,” said Kent Wong.
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 segment above: World in Words Podcast (Begins at 2:50 mark)
To listen on BBC Radio click here: BBC World Service (Begins at 1:02 mark)
On April 23, 2013, BSP’s Executive Director, Aida Cardenas, 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 and specifically about how union-negotiated training funds can catalyze effective training partnerships between employers, unions, and other industry stakeholders. The symposium highlighted current practices to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Los Angeles workforce system by pooling resources and integrating services, bringing training for the economy’s growing industries to scale, and best practices for workplace training.
Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa delivered the keynote address to recognize the City of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board and its members for their dedication and commitment to workforce development for the people of Los Angeles. “A job is more than a paycheck, it is a sense of purpose,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. As part of the Mayor’s address, the Mayor challenged employers to get involved with the “Getting L.A. Back 2 Work” campaign, announcing the receipt of a $13.7 million National Emergency Grant through the Department of Labor aimed at training and hiring an additional 2,000 or more displaced L.A. workers.
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.
On Wednesday, February 27, United Way of Greater Los Angeles hosted a national discussion with key leaders on how to strengthen low-performing schools through partnerships in the classrooms and in communities. Aida Cardenas participated as a discussion leader and shared BSP’s commitment to education.
The summit included a panel discussion with “The Education Mayors”: Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles. A morning panel discussion was held with Eli Broad, Founder of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Dr. John Deasy, Superintendent of LAUSD, Móníca Garcia, President of LAUSD School Board and Casey Wasserman, President and CEO of the Wasserman Foundation.
Building Skills Partnership and SEIU-USWW are currently accepting scholarship applications for the 2013-2014 school year for members and/or children of SEIU-USWW members who plan to continue their studies.
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
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.