UCLA Labor Center

W.K. Kellogg Foundation to Continue Support Early Childhood Engagement Initiative

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APRIL 27, 2017
Contact: Citlalli Chávez
citlallichavez@ucla.edu, (714) 742-1581

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA Labor Center is pleased to announce that it will build upon its  Parent Worker Project, a project that trained a cohort of janitors to become advocates for their children’s education through a new initiative, Garment and Domestic Worker Parents Navigate Work, Schools, and Community Resources for their Children’s Success. This new program 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. Transformative parent engagement, community resource assessment, and culturally relevant financial literacy programming in schools, community spaces, and local worker centers are the tools and activities that will guide this initiative.

The project is grounded in the expertise of two leading worker centers; the Garment Worker Center (GWC) and IDEPSCA (Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California). For over a decade, the UCLA Labor Center has partnered with these organizations on various research and social justice initiatives such as wage theft, fair and just working conditions, and the “Fight for $15″ to increase CA minimum wage.

“While we know that low-wage parents face a host of challenges, we hope this project will empower parents. We plan to develop 25 garment and domestic worker parent leaders to train their neighborhood worker peers about being their child’s first teacher and accessing community resources such as libraries, museums, financial institutions, and specialized programs,” explained Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Ed.D., Project Director UCLA Labor Center.

A team of parent leaders, organizers and educators from the Labor Center, the GWC and IDEPSCA will facilitate the implementation of Spanish-language curriculum, Abriendo Puertas, focused on parents as first teachers. A science and arts program by the National Council of La Raza, will engage workers’ children in creative and innovative activities while parents learn about child development, financial literacy and community resource mapping will also be implemented.

“We know our members care about their children’s education above many other needs so they will gain tremendous knowledge and skills from the curriculum, activities, and resources,” expressed Marissa Nuncio, Director at the Garment Worker Center, “we look forward to beginning the program and to continue building upon all of our collaborative work with the UCLA Labor Center.”

Garment and Domestic Worker Parents Navigate Work, Schools, and Community Resources for their Children’s Success will be facilitated beginning in June 2017 through June 2019. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently approved a generous award for $609,200 that will support this program and the parents and families of low-wage working Angelenos. “We are honored to receive this support from the Kellogg Foundation. Previously, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation supported a similar initiative focused on similar activities with local janitors, members of SEIU-United Service Workers West. We know the impact this curriculum has had on janitor families so we are excited about extending these resources to more low-wage working families in Los Angeles,” explained Shadduck-Hernández, Ed.D., “we hope that these parent worker models will ultimately gain more support from policy makers, schools, labor organizations, and employers across the country.”


The UCLA Labor Center believes that a public university belongs to the people and should advance quality education and employment for all. Every day we bring together workers, students, faculty, and policymakers to address the most critical issues facing working people today. Our research, education, and policy work lifts industry standards, creates jobs that are good for communities, and strengthens immigrant rights, especially for students and youth. The UCLA Labor Center is housed in the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the study, teaching, and discussion of labor and employment issues at UCLA.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.