Every year, teams of youth from communities all over California come together for the annual Young Worker Leadership Academy (YWLA), coordinated by the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) here at UC Berkeley. During this 3-day Academy, youth and their adult sponsors discuss what a good, healthy job should look like, including the rights and protections young workers already have. They also learn how communities work together to create change. Working with their team, they create and plan an innovative project to implement back in their own community—everything from education sessions for their peers, getting their school or district to systematically provide information about job rights and job safety to teens when they apply for work permits, and even developing and distributing their own posters, videos or fact sheets.
The youth who participate come from diverse backgrounds, and are supported by an adult at a local organization or school program, including community youth employment programs or alternative schools that serve lower income or at risk youth. The YWLA presents an opportunity—sometimes a first opportunity—for these youth to develop leadership skills, and actually plan and implement a project designed to improve their own and others’ lives. In addition, six YWLA graduates are selected to return the next year as youth mentors to help lead activities at the YWLA and support youth from the new teams. YWLA impacts not only the youth participants themselves, and the youth who are reached back in each community, but the school and community organizations that participate. These organizations gain the tools and frame to promote safe, positive employment for youth in their own organizations and communities in an ongoing way.
Quotes from YWLA youth:
We are seeking funding to support two teams and our team of youth mentors (hotel, food, transportation, local project stipend and student stipends), as our current funding only supports four teams. This is the only project of its kind in California—young workers do not learn about workplace issues from other sources, and youth need to lead the way to ensure that they do!
The Young Worker Leadership Academy is a collaboration of the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC), the University at California, Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP), and the University of California, Los Angeles’ Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) Program. It is part of the statewide Worker Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program (WOSHTEP) administered by CHSWC.
The YWLA receives base funding from the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC), but in order to host all of our teams at the YWLA we rely on generous donors! Funds will be going toward the following:
Please make your gift today!