Impact on Inequality & Injustice
Our students and partnerships have a direct impact on issues of inequality and injustice. Our impact responds to the needs of low-income young men and women of color, first generation college students, and low-moderate income workers of all ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, who are in career transition. Their communities and futures are at the core of our work. Some of the issues we have had an impact on include:
Students in the Certificate in Leadership and Social Change program led a winning campaign to move the Board of Trustees of the college to divest from fossil fuels.
DeAnza College Students Celebrate their Divestment Victory!
Students in the Community Planning degree program at Los Angeles Trade Tech have been applying their learning in civic engagement work with CD Tech over several years, in both paid on unpaid internships. CD Tech manages the Community Planning program and is an anchor member of the United Neighbors In Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD) coalition. Facing development of a massive project in South Central LA, UNIDAD is calling for “equitable” development that is driven by the community, invests in local residents and prioritizes anti-displacement measures. Benjamin Torres, CDTech’s CEO and a founding CLP Steering Committee member explains what’s at risk:
“This is a vibrant community of residents, students and small business owners. We want investments that will strengthen the existing community, not lead to its displacement. Build with us, not on us.”
Gentrification & Land Use
Minneapolis-CLP is leading the planning for housing development projects with core-academic partners, Minneapolis Community and Technical College and Metropolitan State University. The mixed-use projects combine student housing with space for classrooms and offices.
CLP leads an Advisory Committee to the University’s President and several students from the Community Development degree programs are applying their internships to the planning process.
Homelessness & Affordable Housing
DeAnza Students Active in Local Coalition; Los Angeles Students Aiming to Survey Students County-Wide
Students in the DeAnza-CLP are leaders in the San Jose Renters’ Rights Coalition, pushing the Mayor and City Council to strengthen rent control, limit evictions and end Section 8 discrimination in a city where vast wealth masks a profound housing crisis.
In Los Angeles, the student Community Planning club is developing a survey to document student homelessness, and pushing for mandatory surveying of students, county-wide, to demand action on a deepening problem of housing insecurity.
Passing Prop 47 and Registering New Voters in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Phoenix
Student interns at LA Trade Tech helped to win passage of Prop 47 in 2014. Students prioritized this because it directly involved them or people they knew. Prop 47 reclassified several crimes which had been classified as felonies to be considered misdemeanors, and therefore not on their record in the same damaging way. This included crimes of poverty such as bouncing a check or carrying a small amount of marijuana. The interns gained skills and networks by participating in the student-led Community Planning Club, advised by CDTech.
Los Angeles students registered dozens of new voters on campus as part of this effort, and will be continuing voter registration and voter engagement programs into the 2016 election year. This year, they organized a meeting between students and the General Manager of workforce and economic development initiatives for the city.
In Minneapolis, interns in the CLP program have been doing education on voter ID issues as part of a larger voter ID campaign, and doing voter registration with Voices for Racial Justice, a core community partner organization.
Phoenix students and their organizations helped to mobilize the Latino vote in 2015, which proved instrumental for winning a municipal bond issue on improving public transportation with light rail and busses. Their efforts also supported an increase in education funding. Voter registration and engagement continues as a high priority through the 2016 election year.
Immigrant & Worker Rights
Phoenix College Students Empower Immigrant and Low-Wage Workers
Phoenix-CLP students also played key leadership roles in winning a local municipal ID campaign, fighting for a $15 statewide statewide minimum wage and earning sick leave for public and private workers.
State Budget Priorities
DeAnza Students Shape Tax Policy and Education Spending
DeAnza students in the Leadership and Social Change program are pushing legislators for a referendum to modify Prop 13, the long-time restrictions on property taxes which have led to decades of cutbacks on government services. They are also working for an end to restrictions on commercial property taxes. In the Funds for Our Future campaign, students are fighting for increases in the state’s CAL program, which provides money for living expenses of University of California students and makes it possible for many students to stay in school. They are also allying with others in the State Student Government Association to change regulations in the University of California system so that student governments can increase fees. Students control these resources, which pay for many internships and activities on campus.
By the Numbers…
Our network has doubled since our founding, to include programs at 12 community colleges in 7 sites. As we’ve grown, so has our collective impact on institutions of higher learning, low-income students of color and their communities, and the field of community change studies. We have expanded in a number of other ways, including:
New Certificate and Degree Programs
We have created 3 Associate Degree programs and 6 Certificate programs that represent new, educational pathways into community change careers. All include hands-on experience in the community, with advanced courses and intensive internships available. We also have several additional programs in development. Our programs include the following:
- Associate’s Degree in Community Development (Minneapolis Community and Technical College).
- Associate’s Degree or Certificate in Community Leadership (Henry Ford College – Detroit).
- Certificate in Leadership and Social Change (De Anza College – Cupertino/San Jose).
- Certificate or Degree in Community Planning or Community Organizing and Social Justice Leadership, with credit towards an Associate’s Degree in Community Planning (CDTech / Los Angeles Trade—Tech – Los Angeles).
- Community Development and Engagement certificate (Phoenix College and South Mountain Community College – Phoenix).
The program in Minneapolis articulates to a self-designed major at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. Students in the program at “Metro” engage in advanced courses and intensive internships, actively engaging in the community development priorities of the Twin Cities.
The Henry Ford program in Detroit is now part of a Southeast Michigan-CLP program, that includes a certificate at Macomb Community College, launching in 2016, and articulates to a minor program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
DeAnza students are also moving on to advanced degree programs in leadership at University of California at Santa Cruz.
Our newest programs in Jackson and in New York City are launching with community partnerships in formation and students enrolled in core courses.
New Community Change Agents
Over 225 students have completed one-year training or certificate programs in community change studies. Ten students have completed a full two-year degree in community change studies. Of the over 225 students who have completed our programs, nearly 80% are students of color from low-moderate-income families. Nearly 150 mostly low-income students of color are enrolled in our community change studies programs.
In addition, hundreds of additional students in a wide range of majors continue to benefit from taking one or more of our courses in the ideas, concepts and tools of community change that their colleges now offer.
While some students come into our programs with experience as organizers and activists, the majority of them are new to community change work. The students completing our programs are on a variety of career paths, including:
- Completing their Associates Degree.
- Continuing their education in a four-year Bachelor’s Degree program.
- Working as organizers with nonprofit organizations or unions.
- Serving in local government.
- Securing a private sector job that uses their cross sector skills.
- Engaging in continued activism and leadership development through involvement with community and civic groups.
New Courses in Community Change Studies
The Community Learning Partnership network has developed over 25 courses in Community Change Studies, including both new courses as well as existing ones adapted to meet the objectives of our programs. These core courses cover:
- Community Change Strategies, such as an Introduction to Community Organizing class that covers the history, theory, and practice of community organizing and an Introduction to Community Development.
- Understanding Power, Privilege and Oppression, such as History of Social Justice Movement Theory, Ideology and Practice in America.
- Political/Economic Systems, such as Introduction to Public Policy; State and Local Government; and Elections, Power and Systems Reform.
- Media and Communications, such as Social Media, Power and Culture.
- Self-Awareness, such as Cultivating Consciousness: Reflection on the Self in Community as an Organizer.
- Narrative and story: The Art of Storytelling.
New Relationships Among Academic Institutions & Communities
Our network has built over 100 new partnerships among academic institutions and community organizations. Partner community organizations are now a resource to the community colleges for speakers, mentors, adjunct lecturers and placement sites for internships and other field-based learning. For the colleges, the partnerships are a way to be responsive to a diverse range of workforce needs and to fulfill the longstanding mission of community colleges to be engaged, community-based institutions.
In addition, our network is building new relationships among community colleges and four-year colleges. We have established 3 new articulation agreements between two-year and four-year universities, and are rapidly expanding these educational pathways.
Innovations in Student Support
The Community Learning Partnership has piloted, developed and shared new and innovative approaches for supporting student learning, retention, growth and development. These include innovative models for peer support, field-based learning, campus and community engagement. One example is familias, which are small groups of students that build bonds among students, developed at DeAnza College and now expanding through our network. Another is the strategic development of student clubs that can direct college funds to student organizing efforts, piloted by Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Clubs at DeAnza College and CDTech/LA Trade-Tech are integral to students’ development as agents of change. Our approaches to student support emphasize personal reflection on one’s relationship to community and culture and our lived experience of oppression, along with effective application of change agent skills.