Upskilling Immigrant Workers through Workforce Education and Training
May 2015 Newsletter
While Sacramento Sleeps, Immigrant Janitors Participate in Workplace Training

Despite the 10PM start-time, energy was always high during the ADVANCE Vocational ESL class, combining ABM workers from the Capitol Mall in Sacramento. The 19 students rarely missed a night of the 6-month course, and the classroom was always full of good cheer as they bonded over the challenges of mastering English. It's no surprise then that the students were not ready to say goodbye at their December graduation, after 85 hours of instruction. They expressed gratitude to ABM, Hines and BSP for the gains they had made, sharing stories of improved communication with worksite security staff and greater ease when talking to neighbors. But they also wanted more.


Richard Leppington of ABM and Lisa Fitzgerald of Hines - both impressed to see the students' progress at graduation - quickly agreed to continue on. In Lisa's words, "I couldn't be more proud of the group; the effort and enthusiasm they show is inspiring.  Their increased confidence and sense of team is palpable in their interactions when we cross paths.  We are thrilled to re-launch the program and continue the collaboration between BSP, SEIU-USWW, Hines and ABM."  

Carmen Alvarez recently turned a corner in her life. As she explains, it is a change that "really improved my life." Shortly after starting to work night shifts at Google, Carmen participated in BSP's onsite vocational English classes and has been doing so for over a year and a half. With her improved English communication skills, she was recently offered a position as day porter this past January.

"Thanks to the English class, I was able to answer the questions during my interview", she states. Carmen has become a better employee and is enjoying her job more than ever. She notes, "I am very happy because people who work at Google are always thanking me for my work and I am able to have conversations with them and help them when they need it". But Carmen's story does not end here. She also achieved the necessary level of English needed to participate in BSP's pre-GED program. Through this program, Carmen and other motivated students will have the opportunity to transition into GED classes with the goal of attaining a high school equivalency.
Green Janitor Education Program Launches
with National Spotlight 
Green Janitor Education Program Graduates at Constellation Place in Los Angeles.  

BSP recently officially launched its Green Janitor Education Program, and concluded the pilot program that trained and certified the first 126 janitors in eight buildings across the region, from the South Bay to Glendale. The program provides hands-on energy management and green cleaning training to address Operations and Maintenance practices that enable buildings to meet green performance standards, with special focus on resulting energy efficiency.


The program was designed and piloted as a collaborative effort among Building Skills Partnership (BSP), the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA), the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Los Angeles (BOMA-GLA), industry experts, building owners and Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-United Service Workers West. The companies that participated in the pilot program include Blackstone (Oppenheimer & Co., Inc., Sun America Center, Santa Monica Business Park buildings), CBRE (Pacific Corporate Towers), Calsters (City National Plaza), DreamWorks Animation Studios, and JMB Realty (Constellation Place).  


Maria Landaverde, Janitor at DreamWorks Animation participated in theGreen Janitor Education Program. As a mother and grandmother  she sees the importance of protecting the environment. "I feel more confident in implementing green practices at work and my supervisor sees that.", says Maria. She goes on to say, "I also see an improvement in my health because I'm using greener cleaning products and practices both at work and at home." 

Other News

BSP Receives a $336,700 Contract from State of California  

The State of California's Employment Training Panel approved a contract for
$336,700 to support the Green Janitor Education Program. The new program will provide training and certification to janitors in energy efficiency, recycling, waste management, water conservation, and other sustainable and green cleaning practices that enable buildings to meet green performance standards.
BSP Receives Grant from Sobrato Family Foundation

The Sobrato Family Foundation   has granted $64,000 to fund BSP's successful career pathways and wraparound services model in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and southern Alameda counties. This generous grant will allow BSP to expand and deepen its work in these regions and to offer immigrant families opportunities for career advancement and greater financial stability.
BSP Receives $400,000 Product Donation Grant from Microsoft

BSP received a product donation grant of software licenses from Microsoft valued at $400,000. These product licenses will enable BSP to continue with their workforce development trainings including tablet trainings and the computer literacy classes.
BSP Recognized for Supporting AmeriCorps VISTA's

Meet New Staff  
Adriana Garzon
AmeriCorps VISTA (Mountain View)

Adriana holds a Bachelor's from the Universidad Externado de Colombia. Adriana will be working on strengthening and expanding BSP's programming in North Santa Clara and South San Mateo Counties.
Phillip Ventura
AmeriCorps VISTA (Oakland)

Phillip is a r ecent graduate of Tufts University and will help expand programming in the East Bay. He is looking forward to continuing his work addressing education access for immigrant communities.
Christian Valdez
Program Assistant (San Jose) 

Christian is a recent graduate of UCLA with a BA in Linguistics & Philosophy and a BA in Chicana/o studies. His personal background and interest in language have motivated his desire to work with immigrant communities in the Bay Area.
Astrid Ollerenshaw
Program Coordinator (Orange County)

Astrid holds a Masters in Business Administration from Marylhurst University. She comes on board with much experience in non-profit work. Her commitment to give back to the community and to support diversity and development is what brought her to BSP.


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