Publication Date

5-2009

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker

Abstract

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC) is a community-based human rights advocacy organization, and home to four different campaigns. I was a policy research intern for six months with EBC’s Green-Collar Jobs Campaign, which does advocacy work locally in Oakland, California as well as throughout the state. Due to the reputation of its founder, the Green-Collar Jobs Campaign is well known among activists and policy makers working on the issue, including those working in state government. California’s current President Pro Tem of the Senate, Darrell Steinberg, is known for his commitment to education and environmental issues. When developing a proposal for a green jobs education bill, he contacted EBC and its Green-Collar Jobs Campaign. EBC then convened a coalition of diverse stakeholders, which is now known as the Green Jobs Working Group. This group provided advice to Steinberg as he thought through and drafted The Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education and Dropout Prevention Act of 2010. While the Green Jobs Working Group assisted Steinberg in many areas of this bill, the section of the bill that EBC was most concerned with had to do with giving priority of funding to low performing schools, as well as a 20% set-aside of funding to disadvantaged communities. My primary research responsibility with the campaign was to conduct research around the best way to write those sections of the bill. After this was complete, I drafted a memo that summarized my findings and EBC’s recommendations. Since EBC wanted to present this memo to Steinberg on behalf of the Green Jobs Working Group, the memo was first sent out to the Working Group. After differences of opinion were worked out among the coalition’s members and compromises had been made, the second and final draft of the memo was sent to Steinberg. This memo detailed the Working Group’s revised recommendations on the most effective way to amend the section of the bill that was aimed at providing criteria for prioritizing funding and the set-aside of funding for disadvantaged communities. This experience not only gave me the opportunity to develop my own research and professional skills, but also provided me with many lessons about policy advocacy. These lessons have to do with California’s political system, as well as the complexity of working in diverse coalitions. In the end I believe I made a significant contribution to the advocacy work of EBC as well as a potential law in California.

Disciplines

Public Policy | Social Policy

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