PORTLAND, OR – Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project has been awarded a $30,000 federal grant to boost its Growing Green Leaders project, which will provide safety trainings and green job skills trainings—using culturally specific methods—to over 200 day laborers over the course of a year.
“We’re thrilled to be awarded this grant,” said Voz Executive Director Osmani R. Alcaraz Ochoa. “Workers across our community will benefit tremendously from the skills they will gain from the Growing Green Leaders Project. As we move toward a cleaner, greener future, the training that Voz offers will be in high demand, and we are happy to continue serving our community and creating opportunity and healthy conditions for all workers.”
“In recent years, we’ve made great strides away from harmful chemicals and toward less harmful alternatives, but these transitions are only beneficial to workers if we provide them the tools they need to identify and handle workplace toxins,” said Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee that funds grants like this. “I appreciate Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project’s incredible efforts to train our community. This EPA grant will support that important work, and I look forward to being a strong federal partner in the ongoing effort to help workers transition to safer, greener jobs.”
Voz’s Growing Green Leaders project improves environmental, public health, and economic outcomes for day laborers. Workers are often hired for manual labor jobs that put them at high risk of exposure to workplace toxics—polluted air and water, pesticides, chemicals, and toxics like lead and asbestos. The Growing Green Leaders project provides safety trainings on identifying and avoiding workplace toxics, and teaches green jobs skills trainings for techniques that reduce exposure to toxics, promote a healthier environment, and improve economic outcomes.
This project is part of the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to increase access to environmental projects and green job skills for communities of color, recognizing that people of color face disproportionate impacts of warming temperatures but see few benefits of environmental technologies or green economy programs.
Funding for the grant is through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Small Grant program.
About Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project
Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project is the only organization in the state of Oregon working with the day laborer community. Voz has almost 20 years of experience organizing day laborers in Portland, and we are a founding member of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which includes over 70 Worker Centers around the country. Voz believes that sustainable and transformative social justice work must be led by the communities most affected. At Voz, we model this philosophy by striving to be a fully worker-led organization, and by empowering Portland day laborers not just through economic opportunities, but through opportunities to become leaders in their community.
(text from the Environmental Protection Agency)