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Thu Feb 20, 2014

Capital IDEA celebrated its 15th anniversary and 1,000th graduate at the Norris Conference Center in Austin.  Elizabeth Soltero, the 1,000th graduate entertained the crowd with her story of triumph — learning English then learning her third language, Technical English, before landing a job in computer security.  Elected city and county officials were in attendance, and other graduates honored — including a single father who not  only worked his way through college, but volunteered at his son’s pre-school.

Facebook AlbumCapital IDEA

Elizabeth Soltero stands with Capital IDEA Executive Director Steve Jackobs.
Capital IDEA celebrates 1,000th Graduate, Elizabeth Soltero.
Fri Aug 9, 2013

Catholic Bishop Joe Vasquez and Jacob Cortes of Austin Interfaith stand with workersIn the latest battle of a longstanding fight for living wages in Central Texas, 200 supporters of construction workers, including Austin Interfaith leaders, Catholic Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Austin Diocese and Workers Defense Project, rallied on the steps of City Hall demanding that workers receive the pay promised to them by developers of White Lodging, in exchange for $3.8 million in fee waivers granted by the City.

In the wee hours of the night, City Council voted unanimously to stand by its revocation of economic incentives in light of the developers’ refusal to pay the promised prevailing wages.  

[Photo Credit: Alberto Martinez, Austin American Statesman]

Council Approves Revoking of Marriott IncentivesAustin American Statesman

City Council Affirms Original Agreement with Marriott Developer, ABC – KVUE

Tue Jun 25, 2013

AMOS stands with Governor Branstad as he signs bill appropriating $200K for Project IOWARepublican Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa signed into law a bill that will appropriate $100,000 per year for Project IOWA for the next two years.  Project IOWA is a labor market intermediary that prepares adults for dignified participation in the labor market by training for jobs that already exist, and thus also helping employers find motivated and skilled workers.  Project IOWA was established with the support of AMOS to better address the jobs -skills mismatch in the state.

Wed Feb 13, 2013

Before the Delta Regional Authority would award workforce development project NOVA $208 thousand to expand training opportunities further into the Delta region, the proposal had to win the approval of Republican Congressman Rodney Alexander and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.  Northern Louisiana Interfaith successfully urged both officials to sign off, allowing NOVA to receive the award and pull more people out of working poverty in the Delta region.

Not only does NOVA train for good-paying jobs, NOVA works to transform bad jobs into better ones.  When approached by a call center seeking to train workers for high turnover jobs paying $8 / hour, NOVA challenged the employer to invest in worker development for higher paying work.  The call center responded and now NOVA trainees start at $10 / hour and move to $12.50 / hour within three months, including benefits; call center attrition has dropped.  NOVA is becoming a new kind of hiring hall, offering training for dignified work that pays fair wages and offers benefits.

Sat Aug 11, 2012

In Houston, The Metropolitan Organization united key clergy in support of janitors as they fought to protect previous wage increases and benefits; prior to the strike, workers earned $8.35 /hour or $8,684 annually.  Cardinal DiNardo, Bishop Rinehart and TMO clergy held a press conference exhorting contractors to respect union contracts and to give Houston janitors a raise.  The janitors succeeded in maintaining the contract AND securing a wage increase over four years.

Tue Jul 24, 2012

Many middle and high -skill jobs in Iowa will be increasingly difficult to fill because of demographic changes, structural change in the economy and divergent skill distribution in Iowa.  To address this impending shortage, A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS) established Project IOWA to train participants in advanced manufacturing and healthcare.  Thirty six workforce development trainees graduated in 2012 with 86% now established in career-track jobs with full-benefits and earning as much as $20 per hour.

Fri Jul 20, 2012

In San Antonio, COPS/Metro Alliance leaders applauded the decision of Ramen noodle producer Maruchan to withdraw its application for tax incentives.   Leaders fought the proposal because the company was asking for $8 Million in taxpayer money to subsidize minimum wage jobs, undermining the wage standard set by COPS/Metro with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.  When Maruchan changed its mind, leaders welcomed the company to town.  [Photo of Fr. Steven Gamez by KENS5]

Mon Jun 4, 2012

Two participants of W/SWIAF labor market intermediary Project Quest took top honors at a statewide vocational nursing contest, demonstrating “through their achievements both their individual commitment as well as the value of this program in generating highly skilled workers from within our local community,” said Dave Marttala, Project Quest’s executive director.  Project QUEST was the first W/SWIAF labor market intermediary established; based in San Antonio, it was created through collaborative relationships initiated by COPS / Metro Alliance , the San Antonio business community leadership, employers of high-skill workers and other private and public entities.

Thu May 5, 2011

On 2nd May 2011, Trust for London announced to the 2,000 citizens at Citizens UK's Living Wage 10th Anniversary Assembly the new rate of £8.30 per hour. A new figure was also agreed with Loughborough University and Rowntrees at £7.20 per hour for employers outside London.  A focus on the retail sector was agreed by the Living Wage Steering Committee and ‘Lush’ from the private sector offered to lead the way across their 20 outlets. It was also agreed to explore the four major supermarket chains and to seek a working relationship with them for the long term. 


Mon Nov 8, 2010

London 2012 from its inception has been an organising opportunity for TELCO, and the work continues. Over 700 people gathered at an Assembly in November 2010 to focus on the Olympics. We negotiated publicly with officials from all three Olympic Games agencies (the Delivery Authority, the Organising Committee, and the Legacy Company).

A month after our action, LOCOG (the Organising Committee for the Games) announced that all 130,000 jobs during the Games will be paid at least a London Living Wage.

During April, TELCO schools took advantage of the International Olympic Committee visiting London and organised a celebration rally of the Ethical Guarantees that were struck between TELCO and the Olympic agencies. Over 300 students from East London schools attended the celebration rally; gave ‘Civil Society’ awards to the Chief Executives of the Olympic agencies; reminded them of their commitments to the organised people of East London and asked LOCOG to work with TELCO to ensure that local people are given job opportunities during the Games. We have since held two successful pilot jobs fayres, spearheaded by St Thomas More in North Hackney and St Katherine’s in Bow.

In September, the TELCO team plans to roll out ten jobs fairs, clustered around anchor institutions.


In the News


Community Organizing in Baltimore, Workforce Development

BUILD Targets Mayor: Don't Arrest, Hire!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
CBS Baltimore

BUILD has raised $1.2 million and has asked the city to contribute $600,000 over three years to fully fund a program which would employ people and keep them out of prison.  Rev. Calvin Keene says he and 200 other BUILD leaders from 40 congregations and schools across Baltimore City are ready to put people back to work.  "But the Mayor says no."


Workforce Development, Labor Market Intermediaries, Job Training, Joe Biden, Project Quest

NP Quarterly Recommends Biden See Project Quest for Training Ideas

Thursday, February 6, 2014
NonProfit Quarterly

“So here’s a suggestion for the Vice President: If you want to get the best possible advice on the job training programs that work, the ones that meet the needs of both employers looking for employees with skill sets and of job seekers who are looking for work, convene the nation’s best locally-focused job training nonprofits, put their leaders in a room, and have them hammer out the elements of the programs that really work based on their on-the-ground experience. Pull in the likes of Project Quest in San Antonio…”


living wages, economic justice, Work with Dignity, Executive Order, Minimum Wage

Executive Order BUILDs on IAF Living Wage Tradition

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
West / Southwest IAF
The IAF is happy to see attention being paid at the national level to the issue of wages. The President has announced plans to sign an executive order mandating a minimum wage of $10.10 / hour for all jobs that emerge from federal contracts.
 
An IAF affiliate, Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development (BUILD), designed and passed the nation’s first living wage ordinance in 1994, requiring that City service contract workers be paid a living wage. Affiliates across the West / Southwest IAF soon launched successful living wage campaigns of their own....
 

Organizing in Arizona, Arizona Interfaith, Valley Interfaith Project, Justice for Immigrants, Joe Rubio

AZ Bishops and Business Leaders Lend Voice to Call for Immigration Reform

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Catholic Sun & ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy

At a press conference convened by Valley Interfaith Project, Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted signed a letter to the Arizona congressional delegation for immigration reform, attesting that “the cost of inaction is too high.”


Economic Incentives, living wages, Economic Development, Living Wage Fight in Texas, Jacob Cortes

Austin Interfaith Wins Living Wage Requirement for Economic Incentives

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Austin American Statesman

...Austin Interfaith and the Austin-based Workers Defense Project had been pushing the city for more than a year to adopt stricter pay standards to accompany any incentive deals.... 


Economic Development, Labor Market Intermediary, living wages, Community Organizing in Texas, San Antonio, Rackspace

Project Quest Partners with Rackspace for Cloud Academy

Friday, September 6, 2013
San Antonio Express News

Project Quest, a local jobs training program established in 1992, has partnered with San Antonio-based Rackspace to recruit individuals interested in enrolling in Rackspace's Open Cloud Academy. There have already been 17 Project Quest students enrolled in the Cloud Academy, and Quest is seeking city funding to expand participation by its clients....


Workforce Development, Economic Development, Social Justice, Alinsky, Interfaith, Texas IAF

Texas IAF Reconstitutes Launchpad (Job Training) Fund to $5M

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Texas Tribune

The Launchpad Fund, which gave nonprofits $10 million starting in the 2010-11 biennium to support career training programs for low-income students, will be replaced by the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Grant program. The ACE grant program will award about $5 million under a similar model to nonprofits for the next biennium....


Economic Development, Community Organizing in Texas, organizing in El Paso, Project ARRIBA, Training, living wages

Border Interfaith & EPISO Leverage $1.5 Million for Training

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
KTSM - Channel 9 News

Citing evidence that the regional return on investment for Project ARRIBA's workforce development is $26 for every $1 invested, the City Council of El Paso voted to increase funding to $1.5 Million over five years...


Community Organizing in Austin Texas, Texas IAF, NTO, Social Justice, living wages, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Jacob Cortes, economic justice, Economic Development, Economic Incentives, construction

How Austin's Marriott Incentive Deal Fell Apart

Saturday, August 10, 2013
Austin American Statesman

Catholic Bishop Joe Vasquez and Jacob Cortes of Austin Interfaith stand with workersJacob Cortes of Austin Interfaith engages with Catholic Bishop Joe Vasquez, Reverend John Elford of UUMC and Rev. Fred Krebbs of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and Louis Malfaro of AFT

If there was anything City Council members and the company building a downtown JW Marriott could agree to in the wee hours of Friday morning, it was this: the deal they struck two summers ago to get the hotel built unraveled...  More here.


Community Organizing in Texas, organizing in Houston, living wages, Interfaith, Saul Alinsky

NYT Cites Capital IDEA-Houston as Factor in Class Mobility

Monday, July 22, 2013
New York Times

“Houston is one of the few southern cities where upward social mobility is as high as cities in the Northeast and West… Roughly 22 percent of Houston children who grew up in the poorest fifth of the national income distribution have ended up in the top two-fifths today, according to the study.

In Houston, programs like Capital IDEA assist underemployed individuals who have obstacles in the way of furthering their education. In addition to helping pay tuition, Capital IDEA fast-tracks students through the remedial courses that can otherwise divert them from finishing their degree….”

Capital IDEA-Houston was established by institutional members of The Metropolitan Organization in Houston.


Workforce Development, Community Organizing in Texas, living wages, Social Justice, Interfaith

Quests' Results..'Extraordinary’ Says Head of City Taskforce

Monday, July 15, 2013
San Antonio Express-News

“Trying and difficult circumstances, namely the closing of San Antonio’s Levi Strauss plant, inspired the visionary leadership that created Project Quest more than 21 years ago. Different, but equally challenging circumstances, have led to redefining that vision that will carry Quest forward stronger than ever for the next 20 or more years.

Quest, a nationally-awarded workforce development agency, was founded by COPS/Metro Alliance, leaders of the business community, the city of San Antonio, the state of Texas and the regional Private Industry Council…”

[Photo of AJ Rodriguez By William Luther, San Antonio Express-News]

 

Community Organizing in Australia, Sydney Alliance, living wages, economic justice, Interfaith, unions

Unions Need to Rethink How They Build Power. Now.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Working Life

In recent weeks, unions have found themselves inadvertently under attack. In the ALP’s attempt to make itself re-electable federally, unions were said to be “part of the problem”. It’s true that a few corrupt union leaders have done nothing to help the labour movement in recent years, but working people in this country are in real trouble if the values unions bring to our public sphere are weakened.


Workforce Development, living wages, Labor Market Intermediaries, Organizing in Iowa

Project IOWA Celebrates One Year of Success

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Des Moines Register

Douglas Wells’ path to a well-paying job with potential for advancement had a few bumps, but the 27-year-old credits perseverance and a publicly and privately funded training and mentoring program with helping him reach his goal....


Economic Development, Workforce Development, community organizing in the Midwest, Labor Market Intermediaries

Project Iowa Gives Workers Stability and Dignity

Friday, April 5, 2013
Des Moines Register

 “Jalissa Daniels wrote dark poetry as an early adolescent…She became pregnant at 15, graduated from Scavo Alternative High School and worked at convenient stores and temp agencies. Even though these jobs helped pay the bills, they were not fulfilling…Finding full-time work with benefits was looking grim…  The[n] Rev. Diane McClanahan, one of the pastors at Trinity United Methodist Church, encouraged Jalissa to consider a new program called Project IOWA, which was initiated by AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy)….”

West / Southwest IAF


Workforce Development, Labor Market Intermediaries, Community Organizing in Louisiana, living wages

Labor Market Intermediary NOVA Wins $208K from Delta Authority

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
News-Star

Sabrina Washington came to NOVA during a traumatic point in her life after moving to northeastern Louisiana to escape Hurricane Katrina.

At NOVA, she found not only a job intermediary program, but a group of people who cared enough for her to help improve her life.


Jobs, living wages, Economic Incentives, Economic Development, organizing in Texas, Organizing in Austin

Austin Celebrates Progress of Change in Tax Incentives

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
KVUE News

A diverse mix of Labor Union representatives, city and county elected officials, faith-based organizations and advocates for fair wages and working conditions came to the Workers Defense Project office Tuesday night for the same purpose.


organizing for living wages, Economic Incentives, Economic Development, organizing in San Antonio, organizing in Texas, IAF

COPS/Metro Applauds Maruchan's Withdrawal of Incentive Request

Friday, July 20, 2012
3 San Antonio News Sources

COPS/Metro Alliance leaders applauded Maruchan’s decision to withdraw their application for tax incentives and welcomed the company to Bexar County. “We reiterate our support for economic development and job creation,” said Fr. Steven Gamez, pastor of St. Philip of Jesus Catholic Church and leader with COPS/Metro Alliance.


organizing for jobs, organizing in pomona, organizing in the Inland Empire, California IAF, Community Organizing in California, Workforce Development

IESC Preps People for Jobs

Saturday, June 23, 2012
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Kathy McClellan, an instructional aide for the Rosemead School District, is getting ready to search for a job.  Although employed now, McClellan is concerned cuts to educational funding could leave her without a job in the not-too-distant future.

Saturday morning, McClellan was one of 49 Inland Valley residents who participated in a jobs workshop organized by the Pomona Valley Cluster of the Inland Empire Sponsoring Committee.


organizing for jobs, organizing for workforce development, Labor Market Intermediaries, organizing in Texas, organizing in San Antonio, Economic Development, living wages

Project Quest Grads Take Top Honors in Statewide Nursing Competition

Monday, June 4, 2012
San Antonio Express-News

Two participants of Project Quest, Inc., a local non-profit that provides education and workforce training, recently won top awards at a statewide vocational nursing contest.


Jobs, Living Wage

Living Wage, Again

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Independent Budget Office Web Blog

Amid the uproar during the past few weeks over the proposed living wage law there’s one important point that you might have missed: the city already has a living-wage law.