At the end of April, Dexter Freeman, UNITE-LA's Senior Director of Education Business Coalitions, traveled to Tuscaloosa, AL, to support the Chamber of West Alabama's Workforce Innovations Tour. This convening was one of three taking place this summer in partnership with the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Foundation, with whom our National Strategic Partnership Team has worked closely with for nearly 12 years. The Chamber manages and is the fiscal agent of West AlabamaWorks (WAW), a separate 501(c)(3) that serves as the regional workforce board in rural Alabama and has several programs aimed at serving both youth and adults. WAW is working to make systemic change, inspired by UNITE-LA's systems change efforts. We are reminded of the importance of partner work and inspired to continue to elevate our work on a broader scale.
On April 26, Christina Lopez, UNITE-LA's Senior Manager of Education Business Coalitions, brought together 17 national business partners and a group of advocates from New York state to discuss the different advocacy strategies employed in their unsuccessful bid to get the NY Clean Slate Bill (S1553C/A6399B) passed. The Smart Justice Roundtable included representatives from The Business Council of NYS, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, The Policy Center at JPMorgan Chase and the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. The conversation touched on strategic partnering, economic and workforce development priorities and why Smart Justice and Clean Slate are smart business for employers.