Enlace is a strategic alliance of low-wage worker centers, unions, and community organizations in Mexico and in the U.S. We partner with our member organizations in international campaigns to motivate abusive multi-sector transnational corporations to treat workers and communities with dignity and respect.
Enlace uses an integrated approach to organizing, creating unique campaign strategies while developing systems strengthening organizations internally. Our strategies often cross industrial and sector lines for reasons relating to both workforce development and campaign strategy.
In addition, the Enlace Institute presents trainings in strategic organization development that were developed over the many years of learning through our campaigns. Our collaborative brainstorming processes are useful for virtually all work groups in base-building organizations.
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Peer Trainer Program Grows
The Enlace Institute’s Peer Trainer Program, is showing a 41% increase in enrolled participants in its second two-year training series. Forty-one organizers and leaders from twenty-six organizations made up the first group of Peer Trainers who learned to design and facilitate strategic planning processes and team work evaluations in the Program. As of now, fifty-seven organizers and leaders from forty-three organizations have enrolled in the second group of Peer Trainers in the program, which was launched in 2009 with the support of a grant from the Ford Foundation,
The new crop of participants is currently completing the first round of workshops in Mexico City, Portland and New York.
Impact of Peer Trainer Program
Increasing Organizational Capability with Worker Leaders
A rank and file leader from a predominantly immigrant janitors’ union in Oregon who participated in the Institute has used the frameworks to develop new strategic plans for ongoing campaigns and to infuse new energy into strategies to incorporate/ recruit member activists. This has vitalized the leadership by increasing the number of worker leaders in the union base.
Expanding Organizational Capacity for Organizers
A community organizer from New York used our Evaluation Star framework, an evaluating tool used to assess an organization and develop a plan to improve its work, with great success. As a result of the evaluations, the organization discovered where it needed to improve. Based on this analysis, they created plans to train members on public speaking and facilitating meetings.
Training Executive Directors
Through the participation in the institute, an executive director in Los Angeles was able to use what she learned to develop successful plans to expand the organization’s capacity and increase participation in partnership cooperatives.
Developing High Performance Teams
Three organizers from an organization of working poor in Virginia that has tripled in size in the past five years participated in our Peer Trainer Program with the goal of developing a new middle management team. The team will develop and implement plans that integrate the diverse work of the organization into a single voice. This new middle management team will keep the organization’s work on a proactive footing during the transition to a new executive director.
Train the Trainer
An organizer from Mexico who works with various political and union organizing efforts participated in the Peer Trainer Program and found the frameworks so useful she has introduced them to a constellation of organizations in San Luis Potosi. She says that it has helped them to evaluate their work without friction or blame and to clarify weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and threats they encounter when taking on a project. She plans to incorporate the frameworks into workshops she gives for union members. She went on to use our materials to develop popular education style handouts, making it easier for workers to use and reproduce them in their daily organizing efforts.
Examples of the Impact of the Peer Trainer Program
• Several organizations are organizing to win new laws that will affect substantial numbers of workers and their communities, including:
• SEDEPAC - laws against sexual harassment in Coahuila, Mexico.
• The Pilipino Workers Center and the La Raza Centro Legal are introducing a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in California.
• Independent unions of the workers at Tornel and General Tire are seeking to establish and maintain decent work standards in the Mexican tire manufacturing industry (more than 20,000 workers).
• SEIU Local 1877 used an obstacle management planning framework to improve a campaign plan for a contract for janitors in Northern California, and they have reached a successful conclusion in a difficult negotiating year.
• The Workplace Project has established a job-seeking site for day laborers on Long Island.
• SAJE is working to improve low-income housing in Los Angeles.
• Two of the organizations participating in the Peer Trainer program, La Fuente and TWU, have started incorporating our methodology into their organizations’ cultures, using the frameworks across the organization in ways that benefit not just individuals and teams, but also the entire organization.
• Neighbor to Neighbor in Massachusetts did not have a director for one of their chapters, and their peer trainer used the obstacle management framework to overcome that void.