Fall 2006 Colloquia

Thursday, September 21, 4PM

(Co-Sponsored with Center for Labor Research and Education)

"The San Francisco Health Access Model:  The Policy, the politics and the prospects"

Ken Jacobs, Chair, Center for Labor Research and Education, UC Berkeley
Paul Kumar, Director of Government and Community Affairs, SEIU-United Health Care Worker’s West

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Monday, September 25, 2006 – 12PM

"New Models of Organizing in Human Services and Long-Term Care: Can the success of homecare organizing be extended to other sectors?"

Carol Zabin, Labor Specialist, Center for Labor Research and Education, UC Berkeley

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Monday, October 9, 2006 – 12PM

"Why Comply?: Civil Rights Enforcement in the Workplace"

Sean Farhang, Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

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Monday, October 16, 2006 – 12PM

"Moving Up in the New Economy"

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Joan Fitzgerald, Professor of Education and Director of the Law, Policy, and Society Program at Northeastern University

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"The United States used to be a country where ordinary people could expect to improve their economic condition as they moved through life. For millions of us, this is no longer the case. Many Americans today have a lower standard of living as adults than they had in their parents’ homes as children. . . . This book is about restoring the upward mobility of U.S. workers. Specifically, it addresses the workforce-development strategy of creating not just jobs, but career ladders."—from Moving Up in the New Economy Career-ladder strategies create opportunities for low-wage workers to learn new skills and advance through a progression of higher-skilled and better-paid jobs. For example, nurses’ aides can become licensed practical nurses, administrative assistants can become information technology workers, and bank tellers can become loan officers.

Career-ladder programs could provide opportunities for upward mobility and also stave off impending national shortages of skilled workers. But there are a variety of obstacles that must be faced candidly if career-ladder programs are to succeed. In Moving Up in the New Economy, Joan Fitzgerald explores specific programs in different sectors of the economy—health care, child care, education, manufacturing, and biotechnology—to offer a comprehensive analysis of this innovative approach to job training. Addressing the successes achieved—and the problems faced—by career-ladder programs, this timely book will be of interest to anyone interested in career development, workforce training, and employment issues, especially those that affect low-wage workers.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006 – 12PM

"Uncovering the American Dream:  Inequality and Mobility in Social Security Earnings Data since 1937"

Emmanuel Saez, Professor of Economics
Joint with Wojciech Kopczuk,Columbia University and Jae Song, Social Security Administration

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Monday, October 30, 2006 – 12PM

"Inequality, Opportunity, and Regional Innovation:  Workforce Development in New York and San Francisco"

Karen Chapple, Professor, City & Regional Planning, UC Berkeley

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As information technology (IT) has become nearly universal in workplaces, skills in IT are increasingly becoming the focus of many new jobs and, more broadly, a precondition for progress in the knowledge-based U.S. and global economies. For many workers, however, lack of skills, post-secondary degrees, and connections leave them trapped in dead-end jobs, unable to capitalize on the demand for high-skilled labor in an increasingly networked - and exclusive - society. Some research suggests that IT itself acts to exacerbate societal divisions, particularly in high tech regions, by driving the separation of the economy into high-end knowledge analyst and low-skill service jobs, with little in between.

However, a low-wage future is not invevitable for disadvantaged groups. With less complex skills now required for many IT positions than in previous years, opportunities are being created to move large numbers of low-wage workers into entry-level jobs. Innovative community-based organizations - workforce intermediaries - play an important role in making the transition possible for many of those whom the educational system has failed, providing crucial job training programs that help workers cross the digital divide.

The report, Moving Beyond the Divide: Workforce Development and Upward Mobility in Information Technology - a Policy Brief, analyzes the career trajectories of disadvantaged workers who graduated from community-based IT training programs. Using case studies of training intermediaries in the New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC regions, this study lifts up best practices for helping people cross the digital divide, enter the IT field, and advance in their careers.

Authored by Professor Karen Chapple of the University of California, Berkeley, this brief outlines the context for IT and workforce development, analyzes the role of training programs, including the particular potential of community-based organizations, and concludes with policy implications for employment training. The brief is a collaborative effort between PolicyLink and the University designed to expand the reach of policy-relevant academic research. We hope Moving Beyond the Divide can restart a national conversation about the important role of local providers in training low-skilled job seekers and can bring these issues to the attention of policymakers, advocates, employers, and training providers.

View brief: http://www.policylink.org/site/c.lkIXLbMNJrE/b.5136441/k.BD4A/Home.htm/

Monday, December 4, 2006 – 12PM

"Divided We Die - Unions and HIV/AIDS Peer Educators in South African Workplaces"

David Dickinson, Associate Professor of HIV/AIDS in the Workplace at the Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

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With adult HIV prevalence rates well into double digits, AIDS represents a major challenge to South African society. The absence of a medical solution and the slow responses from the South African state and other social leadership has seen extensive grass roots responses focused on changing individual behavior to ‘normalize’ the epidemic and prevent infection. Within workplaces this has taken the form of ‘peer education.’ While workplace peer educators are predominantly working class their activity remains largely divorced from unions whose response to HIV/AIDS has been limited. This presentation looks at the reasons for this gap between unions and workplace HIV/AIDS peer educators, the implications of this gap, and possible strategies to forge a more coordinated and effective response to the epidemic.

David Dickinson is Associate Professor of HIV/AIDS in the Workplace at the Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, University of California, Berkeley.

TO ATTEND AN EVENT, PLEASE R.S.V.P. Myra Armstrong, zulu2@berkeley.edu