Pomona Economic Opportunity Center
P.O. Box 2469
Pomona, CA 91796
Tel: (909) 397-4215
Urban Fellow Contact: Melanie Epstein 909.607.8183
Faculty Liaison: Jose Calderon - Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Chicano Studies
The mission of the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center (
PEOC) is to
provide an opportunity for day laborers to organize and advocate for
themselves in relation to policies that impact their lives, to look for work, to
obtain new trades and skills, to set new and improved standards of labor
practices and to connect with referral networks. Both the Pomona Labor
Center and the Fernando Pedraza Community Coalition are programs of
The Center’s primary goals include increasing the financial security, safety, health, civic participation and human rights of day laborers in the Pomona Valley region, along with addressing and working to change the systemic obstacles that stand in the way of achieving those goals.
The Center is involved in numerous activities to achieve these goals, including:
- The identification of well-paid and safe employment opportunities for day laborers
- Improving access to existing resources in the local community and building coalitions to create new resources
- Providing educational opportunities on worker and immigrant rights
- Identifying training opportunities in work and language skills
- The development of strong day laborer leaders through organizing and trainings.
Since 1998, Pitzer students and day laborers have developed a range of programs that impart skills and resources to the laborers that they might not otherwise have access to. In turn, Pitzer students learn about contemporary social justice issues from the unique and often unheard perspective of immigrant laborers. The programming has reciprocal benefits of changing the way students and the public view laborers.
CEC and Center staff work together to:
- Educate the day laborers still on the streets about the Center's services and benefits.
- Train new volunteers to teach English as a Second Language classes.
- Develop a health care needs assessment and a network for accessing health care services.
- Mediate conflicts and take action to prevent disputes between employers and employees, which includes wage claim disputes.
- Create a community environment of shared leadership so that workers feel a sense of ownership in their Center.
Teaching ESL at the PEOC is a win-win situation; teacher and student alike get to learn about
another culture and a new language.
-Stephanie Hyland, Pitzer College ‘12, ESL Teacher
By interacting with the jornaleros Pitzer students experience firsthand the everyday reality of day
-Eddie Gonzales, Community Organizer, PEOC
Our relationship with the students is an extremely vital part of PEOC and has helped many of us get
connected with opportunities otherwise not available to us.
Pitzer students are an instrumental part of our educational programs here at the PEOC. The one-to-one
relationship building breaks down barriers between people and cultures. Pitzer’s commitment
to creating these priceless opportunities students and to building capacity among local grass roots
social justice organization is exemplary.
-Suzanne Foster, Executive Director PEOC
CEC recognizes and honors the students, staff, faculty and community members (past and present) who founded each of Pitzer College’s community engagement programs and gives thanks to all those who sustain these partnerships day after day. In particular we would like to recognize José Z. Calderón, Suzanne Foster, Eddie Gonzales, Juan Medina and Junior Medina for developing and maintaining this partnership.
For more information, contact CEC or the Day Labor Center itself from 6 a.m. to 12 noon. Click below to learn more about: