In September 2003, twenty-three community representatives from Santa Clara County embarked on a journey to draw attention to immigrant workers’ struggles for justice. They joined one thousand Immigrant Freedom Riders from around the country in highlighting immigrants’ contributions to the United States and moving the issue of immigrant rights to the forefront of the national agenda.
On the one-year anniversary of the Immigrant Workers’ Freedom Ride, Working Partnerships USA unveiled a new study that brought immigrant issues further into the mainstream by demonstrating the pivotal role immigration has played in making Silicon Valley the epicenter of the global economy, and that the ongoing contributions of immigrants are essential if California is to continue to grow and prosper. This landmark research has been particularly useful to local immigrants’ rights organizations in communicating with the media and elected officials on policy matters important to their constituencies. As the most comprehensive effort to date to understand the net gain immigrants make to the local economy, it has been frequently cited in recent debates and was placed on the reading list for the Immigrant Leadership Course at San Jose City College.
Read media coverage of The Economic Effects of Immigration in Santa Clara County and California
The Cardea Project
In Santa Clara County, the impact of the high-tech crash echoed far beyond the “official” recession in 2001. Low income and middle class families have borne the brunt of job loss and hard times, and it is working and low income women who must struggle the most to make ends meet. Concerned with the long-term effects of this crisis, Working Partnerships USA and the Santa Clara County Office of Women's Policy launched the Cardea Project to focus on the experiences of low income and working women in Santa Clara County.
To share information about women’s needs and develop collaborative solutions to the immediate crisis, in fall 2003 we convened a cross-section of community and political leaders. Recommendations from this meeting informed our research and analysis, culminating in the June 2004 report Understanding the Effects of the Recession on Women: Tools for Empowerment A second community convening heralded the report’s release, serving as both a platform to distribute Cardea’s findings concerning the crisis and a forum for developing a broad-based community response. Recommendations that grew out of the report and community convenings include expanding health care programs; improving education and job training for women, especially in nontraditional careers; and increasing access to affordable child care.
The Contingent Workers Project
The Contingent Workers Project began in 1996 with the publication of Shock Absorbers in the Flexible Economy, a report exposing the negative effects of the growing temporary employment sector. Working Partnerships USA then began working to invent and model potential solutions to the problems created by the rise of contingent forms of work.
Working Partnerships endeavors to accomplish its mission by bringing a much wider range of voices to the table in discussions of economic development strategies, workforce development and employment policy. Our research and analysis of workforce development strategies, labor market intermediaries, and career ladders has included: