Immigrant Worker Center Developing Leaders Remotely

August 21, 2020

Every summer, MassCOSH’s Immigrant Worker Center holds a Leadership Institute to train members and low-income immigrant workers about their legal rights and workplace standards. Our efforts help them become peer leaders who conduct outreach at day labor sites, churches, and other community settings to connect with workers at risk of abuse and harm from illegal or retaliatory workplace practices. These empowered individuals play a critical role in educating their peers about occupational health and safety laws and enforcement of those laws.

Usually taking place in person, MassCOSH Immigrant Worker staff Milagros Barreto and Brenda Quintana had to find a new way to provide this training during a pandemic. Thanks to the partnership of the City of Boston Neighborhood Jobs Trust, MassCOSH provided an intensive, 8-week online leadership training for fourteen immigrant workers who are low-wage and unemployed or underemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many of these trainings focused on the tried and true methods to stay safe on the job (including from infectious disease and COVID-19), they also included workshops on critical job skills, including using Zoom, filling out online job applications, and interviewing online. With MassCOSH support, these workers built their employability and knowledge of their rights on the job for when the economy returns to normal.