Blog & News
Partnership Blog & News
They say that the tide is turning in the Puget Sound. Boeing orders are flying high. Amazon is priming a new campus. Tourism and business travel are pushing the needle. More passengers are landing at Sea-Tac airport than ever. And Walmart wants to sell groceries to our communities. It sure is great to be in the midst of growing prosperity -- unless you aren’t prospering.
Over the last few months, Puget Sound Sage has released four studies showing that as we rebuild our regional economy, too many people are left behind.
Congratulations to Deborah Scott, one of our founding board members who was recently honored by the White House with a Champions of Change award. Scott was recognized for her leadership of Georgia Stand-UP and their innovative approaches to promote energy efficiency, revitalize outdoor spaces, encourage transportation options, and improve quality of life in the Greater Atlanta region. “Healthy, sustainable communities support a strong economy and better quality of life for Americans,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The leaders we’ve selected as Champions of Change are finding creative ways to make their communities healthier places to live, work and play, and demonstrating how a healthy environment and strong economy go hand in hand.”
Lennise Vickers of Milwaukee was a first time volunteer for the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund non-partisan voter mobilization program in the 2012 recall election.
“I wanted to volunteer because I wanted to make sure that people in my county and city were able to get out to vote. The experience taking the individuals to the different polling sites was interesting. Each polling site had different circumstances and things going on. I had one individual who needed curbside assistance because they were disabled and couldn’t get into the polling site. It took a while to get someone to come out and help them vote. At another site, there was difficulty parking. But we made it. They were able to vote.
I first met Maura when she was fifteen. Employees at the industrial laundry where her mother worked—and still works—wanted a stronger voice on the job. Maura went with her mother to visit coworkers in their homes, hear their stories, and show support for their efforts to form a union and make their jobs better. “I just told the people we visited that I believe in what she believes in. We talked about people’s rights and I learned a lot.”
In 2010, I asked for Maura's help on an initiative to sign up thousands of voters to vote by mail. Early voting by mail was still relatively new in Arizona, but we wanted to use it to increase voter participation and power among Latino working people.
Legal challenges to cities’ targeted hiring policies seem to be trending among some construction business groups.
These groups are out of touch.
Targeted hiring policies help those individuals and communities most hurt by the recession by creating new opportunities for real family-supporting careers. Washington DC has a city-wide unemployment rate of 9.9%, with much higher levels in areas of the city with concentrations of people of color. Cities facing similar situations have used these hiring policies to leverage their investment in construction into good jobs for folks who need an economic foothold. In Los Angeles, Oakland and Milwaukee, targeted hiring policies for public construction have meant hundreds of thousands of hours of prevailing wage construction work for disadvantaged residents of those cities.
Developing a transit system that serves all members of a community can transform the quality of life and spur renewal. FRESC is working to ensure that a huge investment in a development project will connect working people to good jobs, affordable housing, and healthy communities.
Mile High Connects, formerly the Mile High Transit Opportunity Collaborative, is a partnership of private, philanthropic, and nonprofit organizations committed to developing inclusive, affordable and livable communities within walking distance of public transit. In November 2004, taxpayers in the Denver Metro region voted to invest in a more environmentally friendly and better connected future by passing a sales tax to fund a mass transit expansion known as FasTracks.
How can we build an economy using recycled materials? As we look to find green economy solutions that will reduce waste, can we create a new industry and jobs?
The excitement of this prospect led me to join a tour of a recycling facility last month in a major metropolitan city. I started at the tipping floor outside where dump trucks deposit tons of mixed recyclable materials. Then we walked down the side of the building where the bales of separated materials are stored until they are shipped.
“Diversity” in California’s Santa Clara County – where Working Partnerships USA is located – is not a lightly used term.
For starters, the 1.8 million people who live there at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay would say the word in more than 100 languages and dialects. Almost 60 percent of the county’s children have at least one parent who is an immigrant. Less than 40 percent are non-Hispanic whites.
Yet in a county so diverse, the voting population is still relatively homogenous, with young people and immigrant communities identified by the county’s Registrar of Voters as comprising a smaller proportion of voters than are eligible to vote.
I was walking down North 37th Street in Milwaukee, in the shadow of the abandoned AO Smith manufacturing plant (that once provided jobs to 10,000 people in this neighborhood). I came across a young couple carrying an infant. They asked if I could help them find their polling place. They had never voted before and had registration identification in hand. They had been walking for half an hour, but were unsure of the exact address. I could do better than point them in the right direction. Since they lived in the neighborhood we were canvassing, I knew exactly where they should vote. I helped them into our van and drove then to the polling place. When we got there, the lines were so long that it took them nearly an hour to vote. But nothing deterred them.
[On June 19], hundreds of community members turned out to tell our elected officials and the army base developers to deliver on their promise of good jobs for the local families that need them most. And we won big.