Low income workers state:”Public services in Chile need more attachment”
On December 2010, Pilar Opazo [Sociology PhD Student at Columbia University’s Center on Organizational Innovation] and I [PhD Student Design-Anthro NC State] decided to launch a workshop with low income workers at INFOCAP [University for low income workers in Chile]. This institution has proven to be an exceptional model of social mobility. Pilar, author of the in-press book “Nosotros Los Trabajadores” [seeks to describe the successful organizational model], which was created using information and studies developed in the Research Center at INFOCAP, wanted to “give a voice” to the workers. Using some of Lassiter’s idea of collaborative ethnography and considering our lack of budget and time frame, Pilar and I conducted a Participative Workshop and a Focus Group to listen and expose the content of the book to a group of this workers. A great and mindful discussion flourished.
Picture: Workshop “Nosotros los Trabajadores” [CM]
In this post, I’d like to share some of the insights given by the workers. We learned so much from them. One of the biggest insights came from the idea that the institution INFOCAP really cares about people.
“This never happened to us before. When we were young, in a public school, this didn’t happen. When we go to the public hospital nobody knows our name, there is no other place that we are important just because we are”-INFOCAP worker/student
Apart from being grateful for the technical skills learned and the personal development courses they must go through, they indicate the difference with other training alternatives [for example in Municipalities] is the level of commitment:
“The courses or formations given in the municipalities are a vicious circle. They seem to be just a way to justify the use of money. Nobody cares about you as a person. There is no attachment” – INFOCAP worker/student
These words made us realize that a lot of the success in the skill delivery for social mobility has to do with the level of commitment that the organization has with the participants. This builds a bond that is not easy to break. A sense of responsibility and of seriousness. A sense that there are individuals that really care for their success, and believe in them. These are organizational factors that do matter, but they are not easy to pin point. The public system seems to need a more committed “heart” in order to deliver successful training programs to the most needing populations.