With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the UCLA Labor Center will build upon its Parent Worker Project with a new initiative to train low-wage domestic and garment workers to become educational advocates for their children. Currently, the project works with a cohort of janitors in an effort to improve their children’s educational outcomes.

The initiative emphasizes parent engagement, community resource assessment and financial literacy programming through culturally relevant and innovative school, community and worker advocate support.

The Parent Worker Project is grounded in the expertise of two leading worker centers, the Garment Worker Center and 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 struggle to increase the minimum wage in California.

“While we know that low-wage parents face a host of challenges, we hope this project will empower parents," explained Janna Shadduck-Hernández, project director at the Labor Center and professor in UCLA’s Labor and Workplace Studies minor. "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,” 

A team of parent leaders, organizers and educators from the Labor Center, the Garment Worker Center and the institute will facilitate the implementation of Spanish-language curriculum, “Abriendo Puertas,” focused on parents as first teachers.

The Parent Worker Project will also provide a science and arts program for the children of workers, developed by the National Council of La Raza.

“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.”