Major Publications




2013 and Older

Policy Briefs and Additional Publications

Becoming Our Children's Champions: Training Parents, Improving Children's Outcomes

Report, 83 pp.
June 2013

This report addresses the severity and persistence of the poor and inequitable outcomes that children from low-income backgrounds, immigrant families or families of color experience in the daunting -- even intimidating -- environments of educational and health systems. It reviews the extensive academic literature that establishes both the importance of parent engagement in improving children's educational and health outcomes and the ways in which traditional engagement models exclude marginalized parents. Two kinds of programs have shown powerful effects in addressing this inequity: those that train parents to provide supplemental health and educational activities at home and those that train parents to advocate for policy and system change. This report spotlights another parent engagement approach not yet recognized in the literature, "parent championing:" when parents work individually with child-serving professionals to improve the professionals' interactions with their children. It proposes a program model for building parents' capacity for this powerful method of utilizing their own expertise in their children to improve those children's outcomes.

This report was published with funding from FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and in partnership with Healthier Kids Foundation Santa Clara County.

Link to full report

Life in the Valley Economy (LIVE) Saving the Middle Class: Lessons from Silicon Valley 2012

Report, 132 pp.
October 2012

In the midst of a national economic recovery led by Silicon Valley's resurgence -- as measured by corporate profits and record stock prices -- something strange is going on in the Valley itself. Most people are getting poorer. Santa Clara County has not had net creation of jobs in 16 years. Median family incomes, after adjusting for inflation, have fallen by 19.5 percent since 2000. Over the same period the share of Silicon Valley families in the middle class has fallen from 62 to 55 percent. Where one in four families had incomes below the self-sufficiency standard 12 years ago, one in three fall below that critical level today. The fourth edition of the Life in the Valley Economy series reports that widening income inequality endangers the middle class and, in a consumer-based economy, a weaker middle class threatens the economy as a whole. The report's Solutions section calls for policy changes such as a higher minimum wage, full implementation of national health reform and other public-sector measures to remedy the situation.

Link to executive summary
Link to full report

Mo(vement) Town: Building Civic Engagement in the Detroit Region

Report, 55 pp.
January 2012

Detroit's manufacturing-based economy -- its large middle class, streams of immigrants and central city that peaked and declined while surrounded by sprawling white suburbs -- blazed the trail for the way urban Americans lived and worked in the 20th Century. The impression left by mainstream media is that the now-shrinking Detroit has been left behind by this century. In fact, Mo(vement) Town: Building Civic Engagement in the Detroit Region, a report co-published by Working Partnerships, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and the national 1000 Leaders Project says the region's past and present have much to tell us about the future of the whole nation's political economy. The decline of Detroit's economy and civic institutions leaves a void of resources -- both jobs and government support -- that Detroit's residents are scrambling to fill. This decline and residents' focus on basic survival leave power vacuums that are being filled by forces pushing an agenda of smaller government and less democratic oversight. This report was produced as part of a national research collaboration conducted in 2010 and 2011 to examine Detroit's policy and community dynamics during that unique period. The project was made possible by the generosity of the Ford Foundation.

Link to full report

Life in the Valley Economy (LIVE) Silicon Valley Progress Report 2010

Report, 125 pp.
June 2010

With Silicon Valley's unemployment at a 60-year high and indicators pointing toward elevated unemployment through 2015, Working Partnerships USA today released its latest report on the economy's impact on local families and its broader implications for the American middle class. Life in the Valley Economy 2010 -- the third edition of what is best known as the LIVE report -- documents a dire employment situation that may foreshadow a "jobless recovery" excluding working families, perhaps an indicator for the nation. In addition to documenting the state of working families in Silicon Valley, LIVE 2010 includes a Solutions section that focuses on some of the region's public policy choices with potential to broaden an economic recovery to include everyone. LIVE 2010's five sections cover Making a Living, Seeking Security, Staying Healthy, Building a Community and Pursuing the Dream.

Link to executive summary
Link to full report

Life in the Valley Economy (LIVE) Silicon Valley Progress Report 2008

Report, 127 pp.
August 2008

Life in the Valley Economy 2008 examines the state of Silicon Valley's economy through the lens of middle-class and working-class house- holds trying to make ends meet and secure their family's future. As the second annual LIVE report, this publication updates the data and analysis provided in LIVE 2007, highlights trends that have emerged over the past year and discusses implications for the state and nation. Finally, LIVE 2008 adds a special "Solutions" section profiling ten regional initiatives each of which aims to provide a new model to tackle the economic challenges facing working families and communities.

Link to executive summary
Link to full report
Read SFChron article
Read more about Life in the Valley Economy (LIVE)

Life in the Valley Economy (LIVE) Labor Day 07 Update

Economic Policy Brief, 8 pp.
August 2007

In an update to the March 2007 Life in the Valley Economy report, this brief draws on new income, poverty, employment, and wage data to reveal that working families in Silicon Valley reaped little benefit from the region’s expanding economy in 2006. These findings confirm that Silicon Valley communities are in urgent need of new initiatives to confront the middle-class squeeze.

Link to executive summary

Link to full report
Read more about Life in the Valley Economy (LIVE)

Life in the Valley Economy (LIVE) Silicon Valley Progress Report 2007

Economic Status Report, 150 pp.
March 2007

LIVE 2007 is a comprehensive analysis of the long-term economic trends affecting Silicon Valley families’ pocketbooks. It shines a spotlight on the tough times facing working people and the middle class in Santa Clara County as they struggle to hold on to good jobs, provide for their families, and secure their future. While raising the alarm, LIVE 2007 underscores the region’s ability to expand prosperity and opportunity by developing creative and effective public-sector initiatives such as universal health insurance for children and community-managed funds for neighborhood infrastructure.

Link to full report
Read the WPUSA Opinion Piece
Read more about Life in the Valley Economy (LIVE)

An Historical Analysis of Tax and Fiscal Propositions in California, 1978-2004

Report, 136 pp.
May 2006

What factors led to the landmark approval of Proposition 13 in 1978?  How much money did the tobacco industry spend against the 1998 effort to raise cigarette taxes?  Do voters favor bonds for certain purposes over others?  And finally, what clues can be drawn from voter trends to help inform strategic fiscal initiatives and campaigns in the future?  This publication serves as a unique and comprehensive resource for readers interested in what factors led to the success or failure of any tax and fiscal ballot measure since 1978 and how decisions made at the ballot box contributed to the state’s current fiscal crisis.

Link to full report
Read about the ongoing Tax and Fiscal Policy Project

Declining Job-Based Health Coverage in the United States and California: A Crisis for Working Families

Report, 63 pp.
January 2006

This report sounds the alarm on the breakdown of job-based health coverage. Providing the full results of the health insurance analysis performed jointly by Working Partnerships USA and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, it finds that employer-based health insurance declined between 2000 and 2004 and is now insuring only 57% of Californians and about 62% of those nationally.  Given the dramatic increases in health care costs, the decline in job-based coverage is expected to further decline, increasing the number of uninsured adults and the number of children enrolled in public programs.

This comprehensive report combines findings from two policy briefs listed below (Falling Apart and Kids At Risk) and details the how the decline in job-based coverage is impacting children and adults differently.

Link to full report
Read about our health insurance pilot program for working adults

Kids at Risk: Declining Employer-Based Health Coverage in California and the United States: A Crisis for Families

Policy brief, 12 pp.
August 2005

Based on a study by Working Partnerships USA and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, this policy brief highlights how the decline in employer-based health coverage is impacting children.  Due to the increase in premiums, more employers are dropping dependent health care coverage, resulting in an increase in the number of uninsured and children enrolled in public programs.  The study finds that by 2010, less than half of all children will receive health care coverage from a parent’s employer.  Unlike adults, the government is providing a needed life raft for many children, particularly those below 300% of FPL, and in the next five years, 51% of low and middle income children will rely on a public program.  This policy brief informed the comprehensive report listed above, Declining Job-Based Health Coverage in the United States and California.

Link to full report

Falling Apart: Declining Job-Based Health Coverage for Working Families in California and the United States

Policy brief, 12 pp.
June 2005

This study, undertaken by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Working Partnerships USA, finds that just a bare majority of adults likely will have job-based health insurance by 2010, with middle-income adults facing the sharpest coverage decline and lower-income adults being largely priced out of the market.

Using a model that projects individual and employer response to changes in insurance costs, the report  warns that if insurance premiums continue their double-digit annual increases, the problem will get progressively worse for workers ages 19 to 65 in all income categories over the next six years.  This policy brief informed the comprehensive report listed above, Declining Job-Based Health Coverage in the United States and California.

Link to full report
Read about our health insurance pilot program for working adults

Squeezing the Middle Class

Policy brief, 6 pp.
August 2005

Local analysis of new Census data uncovered a shift in the income levels of Santa Clara County families: the middle class is stagnating, the number of upper-income households is shrinking, and many more households are dropping into the lowest income classes. Combined with the growing cost of living, this trend suggests that Silicon Valley’s economy is undergoing a transformation which, if not checked, will continue to drive family incomes down and push inequality up.

Link to full report
Read more on the Silicon Valley Economy

Apprenticeship Programs in Santa Clara County

Program chart, 3 pp.
April 2005
This resource for jobseekers and workforce development professionals summarizes requirements, application process, and job wages and benefits for 34 trade apprenticeship programs in Santa Clara County.

Temporary Hourly Employees at the City of Palo Alto

Policy brief, 8 pp.
October 2004

This brief analyzes a new survey of temporary hourly workers employed by the City of Palo Alto, finding that the City’s current system of temp work creates high costs for the City and the community. Looking to a model adopted by the County of Santa Clara as a best practice, it offers recommendations for reforming Palo Alto’s temporary employment practices.

Link to full report
Read more about our efforts to hold government accountable

The Economic Effects of Immigration in Santa Clara County and California

Report, 51 pp.
September 2004

More than a year in the making, The Economic Effects of Immigration takes a fresh look at immigration’s influence on Silicon Valley through an economic lens.  It examines the multiple roles immigrants play in the local and state economies, as workers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs, and finds that without immigrants filling these roles, the emergence of Silicon Valley as an international center of high-tech innovation would have been impossible. It also refutes common misperceptions about immigration, finding, for example, that increased immigration to a region does not raise unemployment or lower wages for the residents already there.

Link to full report
Read more on immigrant workers

Building A Healthy Coyote Valley: A Proposal for Community Health Clinics

Policy brief, 19 pp.
September 2004

Building a Healthy Coyote Valley examines the demand for health car services in Coyote Valley, a region in South San Jose that when developed will eventually house approximately 70,000 residents.  The report finds that the existing medical services in south Santa Clara County will be insufficient to address expected demand and two health care clinics will be needed to adequately serve the Coyote Valley community.

Link to full report
Read more about Coyote Valley health clinics

The Cardea Project: Understanding the Recession’s Effect on Women: Tools for Empowerment

Report, 85 pp.
June 2004

Working Partnerships USA collaborated with the Office of Women's Advocacy to produce a report analyzing the effects of the recession on low income and working women in Santa Clara County. This project identified the roots of the crisis that women now face:  women's lower incomes, the high cost of living, the weakening of the safety net and greater family responsibilities.  It emphasizes that low income women are not just those below the official poverty line, promoting instead the concept of a “self-sufficiency standard” that would allow all families to fulfill their basic needs.

Link to executive summary
Link to full report
More on the Cardea Project

Analysis of Potential Public Costs of School Bus Driver Outsourcing in Folsom/Cordova

Analytical brief, 3 pp.
June 2004
This brief analyzes the financial costs to taxpayers of a proposed plan to privatize public school bus drivers, with accompanying lower wages and removal of health benefits. It calculated the estimated costs of government transfers needed to support low wage workers, such as Medi-Cal, food stamps, and free school lunch.

Economic Opportunity in a Volatile Economy: Understanding the Role of Labor Market Intermediaries in Two Regions

Research project
May 2004
This collaborative study with the Center on Wisconsin Strategy examines the role of labor market intermediaries in two major metropolitan areas: Silicon Valley, California and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By comparing intermediary use in the two regions, it allows us to explore the ways in which intermediary activity is shaped by the particular economic characteristics of a prototypical "new economy" region and a prototypical old, industrial manufacturing-based region.
See additional publications analyzing the regional economy

Jobs with a Future
The Jobs with a Future series, developed and published jointly with the Silicon Valley Workforce Investment Network, examines prospects, challenges, and best practices in three regional industries: health care, hospitality, and child care.  For each sector, the first report analyzes challenges and potential obstacles to growth, while the second report focuses on solutions—offering concrete suggestions on steps that can be taken to improve.

The findings of the Jobs with a Future project emphasize the need to promote high-road industry models that provide good jobs to our region’s residents, rather than subsidizing low-road employers in a race to the bottom.

Jobs with a Future: Successful High-Road Partnerships in the Child Care Industry

Report, 21 pp.
July 2004
Link to full report

Jobs with a Future: Regional Growth Strategies and Strong Career Ladders for the Hospitality Industry

Report, 53 pp.
July 2004

Link to full report
Read more about our hospitality industry projects, including Team San Jose, Hotel Workers Rising, and Hayes Mansion

Jobs with a Future: Designing Health Care Career Ladders that Work

Jobs with a Future: The Child Care Industry

Report, 28 pp.
July 2003

Link to full report

Jobs with a Future: The Hospitality Industry

Report, 35 pp.
July 2003

Link to full report

Jobs with a Future: The Health Care Industry

Report, 63 pp.
July 2003

LLink to full report

Shared Prosperity and Inclusion: The Future of Economic Development Strategies in Silicon Valley

Report, 135 pp.
August 2003

The purpose of this report is to re-evaluate San Jose's economic development programs from the perspective of two basic values. The first of these is the belief that economic programs should be inclusive and open. Secondly, economic development strategies should pursue the goal of shared prosperity.

In order to examine the city's approach to economic development from the point of view of these values, Shared Prosperity and Inclusion is divided into three sections: the problem, the challenge, and the solution. The problem discusses why current market dynamics are failing to meet numerous economic needs and why existing social and political models are proving increasingly outdated and ineffective. The challenge investigates the potential of economic development strategies to remedy these problems. The solution section offers a new policy framework that can enable economic development to do a better job for working families, for businesses, and for taxpayers.

Link to executive summary
Link to full report

The Children’s Health Initiative Workbook
Handbook, 106 pp.
July 2003

The definitive look at the process leading to the successful implementation of universal health care for Santa Clara county children. This workbook includes both the story of the organizing campaign and a series of useful organizer's notes to facilitate replication. Includes forwards from Dr. David Satcher and Marian Wright Edelman and attachments of related documents.

Link to full report
Read about efforts to expand the Children’s Health Initiative statewide

Temporary Employment in Stanford and Silicon Valley

Report, 39 pp.
June 2003

This report examines the growing phenomenon of temporary work , its extent and character in Silicon Valley, and the issues which arise from the patterns of temporary employment in Santa Clara County. It analyzes a new survey of temporary employees at Stanford University and Hospitals, and offers recommendations for employers to ensure that temporary work conforms to basic community standards.

Link to full report

A Community Plan for Accountable Development

Policy brief, 50 pp.
December 2002
This publication critiques the lack of accountability standards for the hundreds of million of dollars in developer subsidies distributed by the San Jose Redevelopment Agency.  It introduces the concept of a Community Benefits Policy, designed to restore accountability and give neighborhood residents oversight of how taxpayer dollars are spent and what kind of development is planned for their community.  It also includes a Regional Baseline Study detailing the existing conditions in the county, the city, and downtown across multiple indicator areas: demographics, employment, economic development, housing, neighborhood services, fiscal, family services, and health care.

Everyone’s Valley: Inclusion and Affordable Housing In Silicon Valley

Report, 50 pp.
June 2001

Everyone's Valley is the product of discussions between hundreds of community members concerned about housing and inclusiveness. The report details the extent of the housing crisis in the region and proposes a bold new plan to create 8,600 new units of affordable housing in San Jose and Santa Clara.

Link to executive summary
Link to full report
Read more about affordable housing

A Living Wage for Santa Cruz and Watsonville

Report, 31 pp.
March 2000

At the request of the Santa Cruz Living Wage Coalition, Working Partnerships examined the fiscal consequences to local government and businesses of a proposed Living Wage Ordinance drafted by the community coalition. This report examined the projected effects of an ordinance covering the hundreds of temporary workers employed by the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville, as well as employees of business receiving contracts, redevelopment funding, or economic development assistance from the city.

Link to full report
Read about current efforts to raise wages in Santa Cruz

Walking the Lifelong Tightrope:  Negotiating Work in the New Economy

Economic Status Report, 90 pp.
May 1999

Walking the Lifelong Tightrope examines the striking changes in California's economy over the past decade and the implications of this transformation for the state's working families. The report details how workers at all income levels are increasingly vulnerable to rapid changes in our volatile, information-based economy and how inequality has become more and more entrenched in California's economic structure. To decrease economic insecurity and volatility, the report proposes news ways for government, business and labor to develop new institutions and policies that protect working families, provide effective bridges from low-paid to high-paid occupations and industries, and provide life-long learning opportunities.

Link to executive summary
Link to full report
See additional publications analyzing the regional economy

Living Wage: An Opportunity for San Jose

Report, 27 pp.
August 1998
A report on the benefits and impact of a Living Wage ordinance on the City of San Jose. This study stimulated the development of the groundbreaking Living Wage Ordinance approved by the San Jose City Council in November of 1998.

Link to full report

Growing Together or Drifting Apart? Working Families and Business in the New Economy

Economic Status Report, 68 pp.
January 1998

A status report on social and economic well-being in Silicon Valley, documenting a range of social and economic indicators relevant to working families in Santa Clara County. This study helped provide a baseline for the original Community Blueprint process.

Link to executive summary
Link to full report

Shock Absorbers in the Flexible Economy: The Rise of Contingent Employment in Silicon Valley

Report, 20 pp.
May 1996

Shock Absorbers documents the rise of temporary work, independent contractors, and other forms of contingent employment in Silicon Valley. The report also explores a wide range of possible solutions to problems faced by temp workers and contingent employees, including public policy recommendations and suggestions for new forms of worker organizing.

Link to full report
Read more about the Contingent Workers Project

2102 Almaden Road, Ste. 112
San Jose, CA 95125
p: 408.809.2120
f: 408.269.0183

© 2016 Working Partnerships USA, All rights reserved.