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OSHA's Region V continued its efforts to reach out to Latino workers by participating in the first National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Workforce Development Conference in Chicago, Illinois on October 13-24, 2010. The theme of the event was "¡Listo! Preparing Latino Workers for the New Economy." More than 40 NCLR affiliate groups and hundreds of their members attended. NCLR is the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

The keynote speakers were U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training, U.S. Department of Labor. Several workshop tracks were offered including: Career Pathways Strategies; Serving Vulnerable Workers; Youth Workforce Development; Local, State, and Federal Policy Solutions; and Strategic Partnerships.

A representative from OSHA Region V participated in a workshop called “El Trabajador Informado Estara Protegido" (An Informed Worker Will Be a Protected Worker). Other participants in this workshop included representatives from Instituto del Progreso Latino, Workforce Employers Resource Collaborative (WERC), and ARISE Chicago Worker Center. The workshop highlighted the value of collaboration between workforce intermediaries, worker rights centers, and OSHA as a strategy to prepare workers for employment with an awareness of their rights to a safety and healthy workplace. Workshop participants also learned how to work with the groups represented on the panel such as worker centers and OSHA, and how to identify good opportunities for collaboration. At the end of the workshop, OSHA and Instituto del Progreso Latino established plans for collaborative trainings for health care and construction workers in the coming months. During the conference, OSHA representatives also spent time with various Latino and worker rights groups to discuss what they have found to be the worst problems encountered by Latino workers in high-risk industries, women in the workforce, and youth entering the workforce.

For more information, contact Lisa Sciolaro, Labor Liaison with OSHA Region V in Chicago, Illinois.

As of December 2010.