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Jobs and More Jobs Study Shows Organizing's Impact on GDP

Posted by: Gordon on 12/23/2014

Jobs and More Jobs ReportIn its new report Jobs and More Jobs: the Economic Impact Of Community Organizing, Gamaliel communityorganizers add up $13 billion worth of public and private programs that faith, community, and labor leaders worked to create or save through their advocacy efforts in 2012-13, employing nearly 460,000 people.

Using commonly accepted economic formulas to measure the direct and indirect impact of these workers on the economy, we estimate that these workers generated $17.2 billion in GDP over the two years.

Leaders from North Bay Organizing Project, United Congregations of Metro-East, and WISDOM released the study in a news conference by phone Tuesday. "The numbers are high, but we work on transit and food justice which has a very high payoff," Laura Barrett of Gamaliel told reporters during the news conference.

We need jobs

The programs that groups won fell into four distinct categories: Education, Food Justice, Infrastructure, Job Training and Transit. The groups that won the victories in 2012-13 were spread across the country from the East Coast to Hawaii. Victories ranged from supporting a ballot initiative in Michigan to pay for public transportation, support for transitional jobs program that generated support included public programs

The economic impact significant as it is, matters less in the long term than the moral imperative to create jobs.

There's a strong public policy argument, too, one leader noted: :We always talk about how can we do better with crime. It’s simple. Get people jobs[and] livable wages," said Brian Osei, a case manager and community organizer with Project Return, a Milwaukee agency that is part of affiliate MICAH and WISDOM. "It is important on so many levels to have a job."

One reason community organizers have had success at creating or preserving jobs is that they can spot the red tape and strategize with experts on the ground about how to cut through it. Pastor Norma Patterson of Good Shepherd of Faith UCC church and other leaders of United Congregations of Metro East in East St. Louis got tired of hearing that area employers would like to hire people from the community if only they could find candidates who were “job ready.”

Making jobs happen

To counter that attitude, Patterson and her group organized a group they called “100 Ready Workers”—certified and qualified individuals actively seeking employment in construction and other fields. Several of these ready workers began meeting weekly to strategize and discuss their search, and by comparing notes realized that several could start their own firms if only they had access to credit.

Patterson and the group ended up working with the state Transportation Department to create a revolving loan fund for minority owned firms and one of their number, Ed Slack started a firm that is even now building ramps on state highways near Effingham, Illinois. Slack in turn has been able to hire 5 others off the “100 Ready Workers” list.

Increasing access

David Walls of North Bay Organizing Project noted that Gamaliel has been working for the past year to win regulation changes to increase access for women and people of color to publicly-funded infrastructure jobs. He presented Gamaliel's plans for a "Workers On the Bus" Action tentatively set for the week of April 19  to get the White House to take action on those regulations in time for their 50th anniversary next year.

Download the report here: http://bit.ly/jobsandmorejobspdf.

You can also listen to audio of the news conference where the report was presented by Barrett, Garcia-Ashley, Osei, Patterson, and Walls.



Tags: Jobs | News | Study | NBOP | UCM | MICAH |
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