21st Century Digital Training Creates Tech Savvy Immigrant Workers

February 2017 Newsletter
Message from Board Member, Alison Ascher Webber
This year, Building Skills Partnership (BSP) shares its ten year anniversary as a statewide organization with the smartphone, a catalyst since 2007 of the mobile revolution. 
Now in 2017, BSP is helping lead a MOBILE UP workforce innovation pilot funded by California's Workforce Development Board. We will develop and pilot best practices for providing anytime, anywhere training and career exploration and coaching opportunities to workers through their cellphones. 
This newsletter highlights how BSP's digital literacy instruction and use of blended learning creates ladders to participation and career advancement in the new digital economy, for which BSP has been recognized as beacon in adult education.

Alison Ascher Webber
BSP Board Member
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Digital Literacy Improves Professional Skills and Benefits Extend Beyond the Workplace
Originally from Mexico and a mother of two, Beatriz Gonzalez Ortiz is a hardworking janitor for ABLE Janitorial at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Ramon, CA. Despite her busy schedule during the week working and caring for her family, Beatriz attends Digital Literacy classes every Saturday at the Union hall in Oakland, CA. Recognizing the importance of technology to communicate with others, Beatriz has learned essential computer skills allowing her to stay up to date with changes at her workplace, and to engage in her children's' education by communicating with their teachers.

Although few have touched a technological device prior to the class, adult learners like Beatriz are becoming more prepared and confident to participate in our current 21st century workplace. Through the unique collaboration between janitorial companies and SEIU-USWW, we are able to overcome challenges presented by the digital divide to empower immigrant workers in technology and communication. Beatriz and her family demonstrate how the benefits extend beyond the workplace to provide both professional and personal support to entire families.
Using Smartphones to Learn Anytime, Anywhere
Today, 68% of people in the U.S. own a smartphone. Smartphones have become a basic necessity in our current high-tech economy, enabling individuals to connect with others and access critical information necessary to achieve economic and social advancement. However, many adult immigrant learners grew up without a smartphone, leaving them unprepared and disconnected from news, information, and essential resources. 

With the support of the Latina Giving Circle, BSP has been able to provide a smartphone class to janitors in the San Diego region. Marisol Maganda is one of these janitors. She says the class has not only enabled her to connect with others but has instilled the confidence for her to navigate the internet to learn new things. As Marisol's digital skills improve, so too will her ability to connect with others in all aspects of her life. 
Introducing Grazia Mora, 
Curriculum and Digital Literacy Coordinator
BSP has hired a Curriculum and Digital Literacy Coordinator to improve and expand Digital and Hybrid Learning Programs statewide. 

Grazia Mora is a recent graduate of Santa Clara University with a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary  Education and an emphasis in Teaching and Learning with Technology. Her educational and professional background has instilled a passion for working with under-served communities to transform the adult educational landscape by expanding the learning opportunities for adult learners.  In her new position, Grazia will expand BSP's digital literacy efforts by opening career paths for immigrant janitors and  strengthening the impact of BSP programs.
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