By Sophia L. Ángeles, Graduate Student Researcher; Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Project Director, UCLA Labor Center; and Saba Waheed, Research Director, UCLA Labor Center

This past June, the UCLA Labor Center, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Community College District Dolores Huerta Labor Institute and California State University, Long Beach, published two studies examining workers and learners—college students who also work—and their unique educational and work experiences. We employed a methodology that was student-driven, engaging more than 450 undergraduate students to collect 869 surveys and conduct 75 interviews with UCLA, California Community College, and California State University workers and learners across Los Angeles County. Our hope is that these findings will provide information for colleges, employers, and policymakers to improve conditions for workers and learners.

Two-thirds of workers and learners work every single term of their undergraduate careers—the new normal for many students pursuing higher education. A majority work in low-wage jobs in the service industry. Forced to work as many hours as possible to make ends meet, two-thirds miss at least one educational opportunity because of work duties. Juggling work and school leads many to forgo internship and work-study opportunities in their fields of study that could improve opportunities in their future careers. Their situation is so stressful and overwhelming that 40% of workers and learners have considered withdrawing from school.

Graphic: Eunice Ho

Iris López, a recent UCLA Labor Studies graduate, explains the predicaments workers and learners face in their struggle to attend school and keep up with living expenses:

“My biggest concern has always been my ability to finance my education. My mother is a single parent who works in the fields. I feel guilty asking for help because I know she is struggling herself. Education should not cost us our ability to eat or cause concern over how we’re going to pay the next few units.”

 

Graphic: Eunice Ho

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated conditions for workers and learners, as half were laid off, terminated, or furloughed in April and May. As schools moved to minimize the spread of COVID-19, one quarter of workers and learners were forced to make housing changes, such as moving back in with family or vacating student housing. The housing situation has further impacted learners who must attend classes remotely while managing home responsibilities, like caring for younger siblings or family members who have fallen ill.

Graphic: Eunice Ho

What can be done?

Current trends point to increasing tuition and living expenses for college students, making it likely that more will have to work to offset those financial burdens.

Addressing the needs of workers and learners requires investing in California’s education system to achieve the following:

  • Support learners as workers by ensuring a living wage, accommodating work schedules, and supporting students’ workplace organizing efforts.
  • Strengthen career and educational pathways by making career resources more accessible, supporting paid internships that advance career goals, and increasing opportunities for networking and mentorship.
  • Support workers as learners by making college affordable or free and expanding work-study opportunities.
  • Provide holistic support by increasing access to mental health services and addressing food and housing insecurity.

 

Report: Unseen Costs: The Experiences of Workers and Learners in Los Angeles County (click to download)

Brief: A Survey of Los Angeles Workers and Learners During COVID-19 (click to download)

 

Sophia L. Ángeles is a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Labor Center’s Worker and Learner project and a UCLA PhD candidate. Her research focuses on the intersection of immigration and language to examine newcomer youths’ educational experiences and their K–16 trajectories.

Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Ed.D., is a project director at the UCLA Labor Center and teaches for UCLA Labor Studies and the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Her research and teaching focus on developing culturally relevant, participatory educational models with first- and second-generation university students, community members, and youth, with a focus on the organizing efforts of low-wage workers to combat labor and workplace violations.

Saba Waheed is research director at the UCLA Labor Center. She has over fifteen years of research experience developing projects with strong community participation. With her team at the Labor Center, she coordinated the first ever study of domestic work employers, launched a study of young people in the service economy, and conducted research on the taxi, garment, nail salon, construction, and restaurant industries.

UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) and the Alianza for Youth Justice have released a new “Call to Action” report titled “The Latinx DATA GAP in the Youth Justice System.” This report shows that inconsistent data collection methods complicate race and ethnicity tracking across different stages in the youth justice system.

“As our country undertakes a long overdue reckoning on race and justice, it is critical that Latinos be included in the conversation,” said Sonja Diaz, Founding Director of the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative and one of the report’s co-authors. “Far too often we are overlooked, but to effectively address inequities in the justice system, especially the egregious disparities facing Black Americans, policymakers and advocates need accurate data on Latinx youth. This new report details the challenges of collecting data on system-impacted youth and offers a way forward so that leaders can craft viable solutions based on facts as we reopen our economy and transform failed systems.”

Findings:

1. Today, Latinx youth represent 25%, or about 8.3 million, of the total U.S. youth population between ages 10-17.

2. State agencies involved in the criminal justice system collect data that identifies Latinx youth inconsistently if at all, creating an incomplete picture of Latinx ethnic data.

3. States report racial/ethnic data inconsistently across the 3 points of contact: arrests, detention, and probation.

  • 42% of states did not report racial or ethnic data for arrests
  • 30% of states did not report racial and ethnic data for detention
  • 52% of states did not have racial or ethnic data for probation

To read the full report, click HERE.

To learn more about UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, visit: https://latino.ucla.edu/

In the latest session of the book series, Come Out, Come Out Whoever You Are author and UCLA Professor and Chair of Sociology, Dr. Abigail Saguy talks with LA Social Science about her new book. Come Out… examines how rhetoric is borrowed by different social movements in order to gain public attention and policies that can help groups beyond the LGBTQ Community, such as undocumented immigrants. Her book also examines the importance of intersectionality within these movements.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

0:55 – What brought you to this topic?

6:05 – What is the main argument of the book?

10:34 – How does the rhetoric of coming out allow groups to gain recognition and social change?

14:33 – How does this relate to current events?

9:06 – How does understanding history of chromosomes help us understand contemporary debates?

17:18 – Final thoughts, why pick up this book?

To learn more, check out Dr. Saguy’s book Come Out, Come Out Whoever You Are.

 

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The historic selection of Senator Kamala Harris, as the first Black woman and Asian American woman to be a major party’s vice presidential nominee, has sent ripples throughout the American landscape. UCLA’s Newsroom, recently asked UCLA Faculty to share their insights on this historic selection.

The following faculty members and center directors from the UCLA Division of Social Sciences were quoted:

Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies;

Grace Kyungwon Hong, Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women and Professor of Asian American Studies;

Sonja Diaz, Founding Executive Director of The Latino Policy and Politics Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs;

Juliette Williams, Professor of Gender Studies; and

Ellen DuBois, Professor Emerita of History.

To read the UCLA Newsroom article written by Jessica Wolf, click HERE.

 

Earlier this month, the UCLA California Policy Lab released their sixth policy brief which focuses on close to real-time information on daily initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims. The latest policy brief, “An Analysis of Unemployment Insurance Claims in California During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” focuses on the increasing number of workers who are returning to work and seeing their unemployment claims either reduced or denied altogether as a result.

Key Research Findings:

1. More than Half of Recent Unemployment Claims are from Californians who are RE-Opening their Claims.

2. The Number and share of additional claimants varies significantly by industry.

3. Nearly one-third of California workers have filed for UI benefits since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in mid-March.

4. For the week ending July 11th, 3.28 million claimants, or about 17% of the CA labor force, were paid unemployment insurance benefits.

5. The share of paid UI claimants receiving partial benefits (due to reporting some work earnings) has risen substantially since early May.

6. As illustrated in our Data Point, without the $600 per week additional benefits from FPUC, half of all individuals received payments below the Federal Poverty Level.

7. In the week ending July 25th, only 63% of new initial claimants reported they expect to be recalled. The gap in recall expectations between Black claimants and others’ which was seen earlier in the crisis appears to have narrowed in recent weeks.

To read the press release, click HERE.

To read the full report, click HERE.

Dr. Scot Brown, a UCLA professor and musician, talks with LA Social Science about his published books, current music project, and future research projects.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

1:21 – Is there a book or an album that has help you to get through this pandemic?

3:19 – Tell us about your book “Fighting for Us”

9:36 – Tell us about your upcoming research which focuses on Dayton?

14:58 – How do you balance academia and music?

19:23 – In this moment, how does music create a foundation for the current movement?

23:00 – Talk about the intention behind the video for “Last Man

26:17 – Closing

To learn more, check out Dr. Brown’s book, Fighting For Us.

Also read Dr. Brown’s quote in The New York Times about Ankara Print and it’s significance for the African American community if it goes mainstream.

In the first interview of the book series, Heredity Under the Microscope author Dr. Soraya de Chadarevian, Professor in the Department of History and the Institute for Society and Genetics, speaks with LA Social Science about her new book that examines the history of research into chromosomes and heredity.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

1:04 – Why study the history of chromosomes?

2:12 – What is the main argument of the book?

2:48 – Key findings

5:32 – Conversations around studying the genome

9:06 – How does understanding history of chromosomes help us understand contemporary debates?

12:16 – How did an interdisciplinary approach help with this book?

14:22 – Why would this be a great book to assign in class?

15:35 – Closing

To learn more, check out Dr. de Chadarevian’s book Heredity Under the Microscope.

 

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UCLA Professor Stephen Acabado recently co-authored an essay for INQUIRER.net that discusses how monuments in the Philippines “glorify both our fight for self-determination and the contributions of our colonial overlords.” The authors credit the #BlackLivesMatter movement for this renewed investigation into monuments and the histories they represent, as they urge the reader to see monuments as elevations of history.

A pre-war photo of the Plaza Quince Martires in Naga City. The monument honors the 15 martyrs of Bicol who were executed by the Spanish in 1897 for rebellion. (Photo: Savage Mind: Arts, Books, Cinema)

To read this essay, click HERE.