ILR School

Domestic Workers Rising: An Evaluation of the We Rise Peer Training Program

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This report is based on an in-depth evaluation of the impact of the We Rise Nanny Training, a peer education program in New York that integrates workers’ rights education with professional development, using popular education pedagogy. The We Rise Nanny Training aims to lift standards in the domestic work industry by training nannies in workers’ rights and negotiation skills; providing professional development that increases their employability; and building their confidence and leadership within the workplace and within the movement for domestic workers’ rights. The evaluation was designed as an 18-month, mixed-methods, longitudinal study that was shaped by the principles of community-based participatory research. The research included a longitudinal survey comprised of a baseline, midline, and endline survey; qualitative interviews with training participants; focus groups with peer trainers; and qualitative interviews with training coordinators and organization staff. Research was conducted in English, Spanish, and Nepali. Our analysis suggests that the We Rise Nanny Training strengthens participants’ ability and drive to negotiate with their employers for increased wages and better working conditions, and to secure measures such as written contracts and overtime pay. Participants drew confidence and motivation to negotiate from learning about their rights and fair standards, recognizing the value of their labor as domestic workers, and receiving a certificate from the Worker Institute at Cornell University. Our research also found that the peer and popular education design of the We Rise training appears to instill in participants the sense that they are part of a greater movement of domestic workers pushing for industry-wide change, thus bolstering their confidence and drive to make change in their own workplaces and across the industry. Findings suggest that organizations use the We Rise Nanny Training to support their broader strategies to lift standards across the industry: as a base-building channel; a vehicle for leadership development; and as a “leadership ladder” where nannies can become peer trainers and We Rise “captains.” Our analysis also suggests that the training influences participants to become more involved in activities that are central to lifting standards in the industry and expanding the movement for domestic workers’ rights—sharing information with other nannies, doing outreach and recruitment with other nannies, and engaging in organizing and advocacy activities.

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Cornell University, ILR School, Worker Institute


worker rights; domestic work; nannies; care work; New York; immigrant workers; worker education; peer education; low wage workers


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