Working Partnerships addresses the root causes of inequality in today's economy through building the capacity of workers and communities of color to lead and govern.


Sign up by June 29! Trades Orientation Program builds the pipeline into a construction career

Posted June 26, 2015

In an economy where good, family-supporting jobs are scarce and getting scarcer, the high-road construction industry offers one of the best opportunities to work hard and move up to the middle class.

The Trades Orientation Program (TOP) is a free, intensive 130-hour pre-apprentice class designed to put students on the pathway to a job as an apprentice and a career in the building trades. Because it is a collaborative partnership with industry representatives from the Building Trades Council and the Apprenticeship Coordinators, graduates not only earn a nationally recognized certificate, but are directly connected to local employment and apprenticeship opportunities.

Women, youth (age 18+), veterans and underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply.Information/application sessions will be held June 29 - July 1 in San Jose. If you know anyone who might be interested in getting a start on a construction career, they can find out more and sign up for an info session at http://www.wpusa.org/top/.

Healthy Corner Stores Team Helps Construct Mural on First Street

Posted June 3, 2015

From May 29th-31st, Working Partnerships partnered with young volunteers, the Health Trust of San Jose and artists from Empire 7 Studios to paint a mural on the side of the First Street Market at 748 South First Street.

As part of the Healthy Corner Stores initiative, this project focused on getting community involvement in the construction of this mural.

In the past, Working Partnerships and the Health Trust spoke to dozens of stores in low income neighborhoods in order to convince them to take part in the ‘Good to go’ campaign. The addition of healthy foods into these small markets is crucial for the surrounding community because of the overwhelming amount of impoverished families that have health problems related to unhealthy foods.

‘Good to go’ has been implemented at many corner stores all around San Jose. This campaign focuses on getting healthy foods into neighborhoods that do not have much access to fruits and vegetables.

Does Facebook Hold the Key to Women’s Equality?

Posted May 18, 2015

By Rachel Deutsch

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced Wednesday with much fanfare that her company would require contractors to provide workers with a $15 minimum wage, 15 paid days off (including holidays), and paid time off or a cash benefit for new parents.

She said the decision was targeted to uplift women, “because they comprise about two-thirds of minimum wage workers nationally [and] are particularly affected by wage adjustments.”

Facebook’s decision, spurred by pressure from workers and communities, is groundbreaking: never before has a Silicon Valley tech company acknowledged such broad responsibility for the wages and working conditions of its (predominantly black, brown and female) subcontracted workforce. But are these job standards the key to women’s equality?

A report released the day before the Facebook announcement shows that erratic and abusive work schedules are a major culprit in keeping women prisoners of income volatility – called the new “hidden inequality” by the New York Times...
Read more on The Left Hook: Politics with a Punch.

Rachel Deutsch serves as Senior Staff Attorney for Worker Justice for the Center for Popular Democracy, focusing on the Fair Workweek Initiative.

Mountain View Goes Bold with BRT

Posted May 6, 2015

Too often, policy decisions are made on narrowly focused considerations, such as politics or special interests, and do not give proper weight to the true benefits of a proposal.

Last Tuesday, the Mountain View City Council bucked that trend by voting in favor of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Councilmember Ken Rosenberg, Vice Mayor Patricia Showalter, and Councilmember Michael Kasperzak courageously led the charge to bring affordable transportation options and more walkable, bikeable streets to Mountain View—through BRT with transit-only lanes.

The vote for BRT with transit-only lanes sends a signal to the region that Mountain View is committed to responsible planning and solutions that reduce our environmental footprint and provide real transportation options that can be enjoyed by residents and workers of all incomes.

Rather than killing a good project with some imperfections or loose ends, supportive policymakers have positioned themselves to instead work with VTA to make the project even better, such as allowing public/private shuttles to use the transit lanes and ensuring better connecting transit services.

Read more on The Left Hook: Politics with a Punch

Interested in learning more? Please contact Charisse Ma Lebron, Director of Health Policy and Community Development at 408-809-2124 or charisse@wpusa.org.

Graduates on their Way to a Construction Career

Posted April 23, 2015

On Monday night we celebrated the graduation ceremony for the Spring 2015 class of the Trades Orientation Program!

The 17 graduates came from all walks of life, with one thing in common: seeking a good, family-supporting career.

Through their hard work and dedication, they are now well on their way to entering that pathway into a rewarding career in the construction trades.

Most of the graduates are already in the process of applying for apprenticeship in their trade of choice, including Carpenters, Electricians, Ironworkers, Plumbers, Sheet Metal Workers, Surveyors, Roofers and more.

Many thanks to our Construction Careers Initiative partners who helped make this program possible, including the Santa Clara Building Trades Council, the South Bay Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, work2future, the work2future Foundation, NOVA and the California Conservation Corps. And a BIG congratulations to all of the graduates!

Interested in learning more? Find out about the Trades Orientation Program and how to apply for the next session at www.wpusa.org/top.

 Angela Y. Davis on "Inequality and the Role of Resistance"

Posted April 6, 2015

For our next Social Innovators Speaker Series, we are excited to host Angela Y. Davis, '60s civil rights activist-intellectual and UC Santa Cruz professor.

Dr. Davis will discuss the current social movements challenging police violence, mass incarceration, and social inequality.

When: Thursday, April 16 at 7 pm.  Doors open at 6:30 pm. Come early to reserve your seat!

Where: Morris Dailey Auditorium, Tower Hall at San Jose State University (near San Fernando and 5th Streets) [map]

Free admission for students.  General admission is also free, as donations are appreciated.


Download the flyer

Questions? Contact Son Chau, son@wpusa.org or 408-809-2122.

Behavioral Health and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Posted March 19, 2015

Behavioral Health is an important piece to maintaining a healthy and well balanced life, by ensuring that your mental and emotional wellbeing is taken care of.

Through the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all health plans under the State Health Insurance Marketplaces cover substantive disorders and mental health services, such as depression screening and rehabilitative services.

On March 18th the Santa Clara County Health Reform Implementation Stakeholder Group received a presentation on these important issues around Behavioral Health. The Health Reform Stakeholder Group, led by Working Partnerships, is comprised of stakeholders from the various fields of healthcare. The group works to develop models for service delivery, workforce development and health prevention strategies to ensure successful implementation of the ACA in the County.

Toni Tullys, Director of Behavioral Health Services in the County, and Elisa Koff-Ginsborg, Executive Director of Behavioral Health Contractors Association spoke on the many changes around behavioral health in the county, including details on who are eligible to receive behavioral health services, how services are provided, and what are the new funding opportunities with the state to improve access to these services. The presentation can be found here.

On April 15th the Stakeholder Group will be receiving presentations regarding the importance of nutrition. If you are interested in being part of these discussions around health, please contact Research Associate Esha Menon, esha@wpusa.org.

Advancing Health Care Coverage for All in Santa Clara County

Posted March 11, 2015

According to Covered California, nearly half a million new Californians have signed up to get health coverage this year.

This is a huge success that the Santa Clara County (SCC) Outreach and Enrollment Committee has been a part of, through hosting enrollment events to get families in the county enrolled into affordable health coverage.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medi-Cal in California ensured that tens of thousands of previously uninsured SCC residents gained access to health insurance. However, an estimated 130,000 – 150,000 SCC residents still remain uninsured. Residents remain uninsured for numerous reasons; some are ineligible for coverage due to documentation status; some missed signing up for coverage during Covered CA enrollment periods; others cannot afford the coverage offered through their employer or Covered CA; and others still are not enrolled into Medi-Cal or simply choose not to enroll.

Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA) has long been committed to ensuring comprehensive health care coverage for all Santa Clara County residents, regardless of their income or documentation status. In 2001, WPUSA pioneered the first-in-the-nation effort to achieve universal health insurance for children on a countywide level, which has since been replicated in 30 counties in California. Also known as the Children’s Health Initiative (CHI), the program provides health coverage to more than 161,000 SCC kids.

Building on this work, as of June 2014, WPUSA, Community Health Partnership, and Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System have been working on a collaborative project to create a Coverage Initiative proposal for the remaining uninsured in SCC. The collaboration involves research, analysis, policy development, community outreach and engagement in order to craft a quality, financially viable and needs-informed Coverage Initiative proposal. The Collaborative is expected to bring a Coverage Initiative Proposal for consideration to the SCC Board of Supervisors in summer 2015.

To learn more about Working Partnerships USA’s ongoing efforts in health care, contact Charisse at 408-809-2124 or email charisse@wpusa.org

Apple Responds to Movement to Raise Wages and Conditions for Low Wage Workers

Posted March 3, 2015

Major Bay Area Tech Company takes important step in justice for invisible workers.

On the heels of the launch of Silicon Valley Rising, tech giant Apple has announced plans to hire security officers as full time Apple employees, conferring on them full health insurance, retirement options and a series of other benefits.

“Apple’s decision is a major victory in the effort to ensure that service workers in high tech are treated fairly,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council, “This win, along with similar wins at other tech companies, is creating momentum for tech companies to do right by all their contract workers.”

“The disparity in employee compensation and benefits in the Bay Area technology industry is nothing short of economic and occupational segregation,” said Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA, adding, “today’s decision demonstrates that the Silicon Valley Rising strategy is effective. When workers and community rise up and corporations respond, Silicon Valley can be a place that works for all”.

Silicon Valley Rising has adopted a three-point plan to improve the standards of low wage workers at tech campuses:
• Raise wages and benefits for Silicon Valley workers;
• Develop public policy solutions for the region’s affordable housing crisis;
• Increase corporate accountability for the treatment of contract tech workers.

For more information, please contact Maria Noel Fernandez of Silicon Valley Rising at (408) 506-5875 and www.SiliconValleyRising.org 

Silicon Valley on the Rise, Now's the Time to Organize

Posted March 3, 2015

“We’re together – We’re stronger.” That message echoed throughout McDonnell Hall this past Friday at the launch of Silicon Valley Rising – a pact between faith leaders, community organizations, labor leaders and everyday residents to advance the singular cause of raising the standard of living for the often “forgotten” workers and families in the Silicon Valley tech economy.

Nearly 200 listened as interfaith leaders pleaded for justice for the invisible but vitally important component of our tech economy –low wage workers who support the operations at tech companies by cleaning their offices, preparing and serving them food, guarding their facilities and driving their employee shuttles to and from work.

Gathered in the same room where 50 years ago Cesar Chavez passionately pled for justice for migrant farm workers, community leaders listened to the testimonies of housekeepers, shuttle drivers and security officers. These are the people who support the coders, software engineers and hardware engineers that are working on “the next big thing.” These are the people who are barely surviving in Silicon Valley.

Friends, last week we sowed the seeds of a new movement.

Please join us in the next innovation borne from our region, Silicon Valley Rising.

 Join Silicon Valley Rising and help build an economy that works for all.

Silicon Valley Rising Launch

Posted February 24, 2015

Silicon Valley Rising Launch

Friday, February 27th from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Where: McDonnel Hall 2020 East San Antonio Street, San Jose [map]


Every day, low wage workers get up in the morning to serve, drive, and protect at tech campuses where more than $103 billion dollars in profits was made in a single year. Yet one out of three families in Silicon Valley does not make enough to meet their most basic needs and the housing crisis in our community continues to grow.

It’s time to act. Please join us for Silicon Valley's Launch this Friday!

We believe in a Silicon Valley where all workers, their families and communities are valued and are a part of our region’s prosperity.

Silicon Valley is the national symbol of inequality, of the haves and have nots, of racial division and those of us who call this place home are ready to build something different.

It’s about community, faith and labor leaders coming together to say we can do better and we have a plan; we believe in a Silicon Valley that works for everyone, not for a select few; and we believe that when we’re together – we’re stronger.

Trades Orientation Program builds the pipeline into a construction career

Posted February 19, 2015

In an economy where good, family-supporting jobs are scarce and getting scarcer, the high- road construction industry offers one of the best opportunities to work hard and move up to the middle class.

But many people who are looking for just such an opportunity either don’t consider construction as a career option, or don’t understand how to get into the industry. Gender balance is especially skewed – among all California construction workers, fewer than 3% are women.

The Trades Orientation Program (TOP) is a pre-apprentice class designed to put students on the pathway to a job as an apprentice and a career in the building trades. Because it is a collaborative partnership with industry representatives from the Building Trades Council and the Apprenticeship Coordinators, graduates not only earn a nationally recognized certificate, but are directly connected to local employment and apprenticeship opportunities.

Partners work2future and NOVA provide additional support for career navigation and job readiness.

The first 2015 TOP class started last week with 20 students. Recruitment for the next class will open at the end of March – if you know anyone who might be interested in getting a start on a construction career, they can find out more at http://wpusa.org/top/.

Last Day for Covered CA: February 15th

Posted February 10, 2015

Do you know what’s coming in less than a week? No-it isn’t Valentine’s Day, but something equally important.

February 15th is the last day of Open Enrollment to enroll in a health plan through Covered California. Covered California is the state’s health exchange where individuals and families who do not yet have health coverage, can find affordable and quality health insurance.

Last year over 60,000 Santa Clara residents signed up to get health coverage through Covered California. Not only that, but over 80% of individuals received tax credits that helped lower the cost of their coverage, to make it even more affordable.

To sign up for coverage follow these easy steps:
1. Go to coveredca.com
2. Click on the APPLY tab on the top right hand of the page.
3. If you had signed up for coverage last year through Covered California, your information has already been saved and you’ll be able to navigate through the process faster. Otherwise just follow the steps to get enrolled.
4. If you still have questions or would like to sign up in person, visit scchealthconnection.org where we have posted enrollment events in Santa Clara County this week, with the contact information of the enrollment counselors.

*Covered California also serves application services in other languages including Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Korean, Khmer, Lao, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. Just scroll down the Covered CA website, and click on the language that’s best suited for you.


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Silicon Valley is Rising

While tech companies make massive profits, the workers who keep them running smoothly have been left behind.

 Silicon Valley Rising is here to fix that by raising wages, creating affordable housing, and growing our middle-class. We're building a tech economy that works for everyone.

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