2012 Strategic Plan Priorities

Since its inception El Centro's overlying goal has been to develop a sense of community and self sufficiency among workers and to foster worker ownership over the governance of the organization. During a year of challenges resulting from a transition in leadership for the organization El Centro has spent significant time and energy assessing practices, programs, infrastructure and governance. Recently staff and board members participated in a two day Strategic Planning retreat, and defined the following 5 priorities for the next 12 to 18 months:

1- Strengthen systems to build an identity amongst El Centro's members reflecting their professionalism, pride, dignity and respect.

2- Increase opportunities for employment in safe, respectful work environments.

3- Create environment of leadership development amongst staff, workers and volunteers.

4- Support workers and community to address cases of wage theft through education and enforcement.

5- Build community support to provide resources to sustain the above goals.

PROGRAMS

Worker Center Membership: El Centro is a safe place for workers to gather and access work opportunities each day. When they are not working they are engaged in a variety of activities designed to increase engagement, job skills, life skills and leadership. It is a place for them to use the community kitchen to cook a hot meal and rent a locker to keep their personal items safe.

Employment Program: Over 250 worker members participated in El Centro's day laborer safe exchange program last year. This program holds both the workers and their employers accountable for a strong working relationship. Employers contact El Centro to request a worker, they fill out an intake form and agree to pay each worker a living standard wage. Employers receive information and education regarding their responsibility to respect human rights of the workers they hire. The Employment program creates safe and healthy work opportunities while developing a workforce of skilled workers who value professionalism.

Cooperative Initiatives: The Women's Program has been the incubator for a Green Cleaning and Catering Cooperative. Women who have participated have received education on cooperative principles, business basics, marketing, etc. They are offered technical assistance as they develop a business plan, choose a model and start their own business. Currently 5 women are involved in a catering coop where they are contracted for events and will do everything from just provide the food to handling the set up, clean up of china and actually serving during the event.

Women's Program: Since 2006, approximately 60 women each year have participate in an eight week program designed to promote leadership development. Those who become members after the initial program continue to meet in a safe space where they can learn from each other and work with the El Centro staff to create employment opportunities for themselves and become more engaged in their community. The women's program has been the incubator for our Domestic Workers Alliance and our Cooperative Program.

Campaigns: During the past 10 years El Centro has both lead and supported campaigns to improve the lives and protect the rights of day laborers, immigrants and other marginalized groups. Today El Centro's two campaign initiatives focus on the rights of Domestic Workers and the health, safety and rights of workers who are gathering on the corner in original Aurora. Since 2010 El Centro has been the lead organization in Colorado collaborating nationally to advocate for change in local, state and Federal laws to include protection for Domestic Workers under worker protection laws. In 2008, El Centro began to work in collaboration with other organization to support a growing population of day laborers who gather on the corner of Colfax and Dayton in Aurora. As a member of the Aurora Human Rights Center (AHRC), El Centro is working to build relationships between organizations, municipalities, local businesses, and police enforcement and address their challenges and rights.

Workforce and Development-Ongoing training and development opportunities are offered to our members. They range from English as a Second Language classes, know your rights trainings, skill building workshops, vocation trainings to train the trainer classes where workers are being trained to lead trainings for other workers. Last year El Centro created a culturally appropriate curriculum for vocation specific trainings on how to create safe work environments for themselves and how to negotiate with their employer to provide safer working environments. Through this program employers are also provided information and education on how to provide safe work environments to prevent worker injuries, their responsibilities under OSHA laws, and what to do when a worker is injured.