Publish date: May 6, 2015
In collaboration with Building Skills Partnership (BSP), the UCLA Labor Center’s “Parent to Parent, Building to Building, School to School” project focused on improving educational opportunities for janitors’ families and communities. The project trained a cohort of janitor parents, union members of SEIU-United Service Workers West, to become advocates for their children’s education.
LA janitors clean skyscrapers in every region of Los Angeles yet this labor force earns some of the lowest wages in the city. Often, janitorial workers work difficult hours and hold multiple jobs, which leads to challenges when they try to engage in their children’s education. Remedios Martinez, a janitor who cleans Century City’s high rises, became a parent leader of this program, “I found that these workshops and classes were highly important for my son–he particularly liked the math classes.”
Parent to Parent, Building to Building, School to School emerged from participatory research about the janitor parents’ needs. In this research, parents identified their children’s education as a top priority–even over other important issues such as health and immigration reform. According to numerous studies, early childhood education positively impacts children, families, and future generations. “Parent to Parent, Building to Building, School to School” project trained 15 parent workers, who conducted parent engagement workshops with approximately 500 other janitor parents in the Downtown LA, South LA, and the San Fernando Valley. Parents and young children participated in workshops, field trips, and cultural activities at worksites, schools, and the union hall. The project is was funded by generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as part of its family engagement initiative, which aims to support children’s educational success from birth to 8 years old.
Beginning in June 2017, the Garment and Domestic Worker Parents Navigate Work, Schools, and Community Resources for their Children’s Success, will focus on improving children’s educational outcomes by engaging low-wage garment and domestic worker parents in their children’s education in new ways. This new iteration of work is also sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
La Opinión- Conserjes impulsan la educación de sus hijos