Madeline Janis is co-founder and national policy director of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). Under her stewardship as executive director from 1993 to 2012, LAANE became an influential leader in the effort to build a new economy based on good jobs, thriving communities and a healthy environment. Prior to founding LAANE, Janis served as executive director of the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN). Before joining CARECEN, Janis worked at the law firm of Latham & Watkins on commercial litigation and land use matters. She received degrees from Amherst College and UCLA Law School. Janis’s Stanton project will investigate how investment in transportation infrastructure can help create domestic manufacturing capability in Los Angeles.
* Madeline is now with Jobs to Move America.
The Challenge: As I developed my initial proposal for the Stanton grant, I was grappling with a thorny problem in the LA and national economy: the globalization of capital and the disappearance of good manufacturing jobs that had been the foundation of growth for the LA economy. In particular with the approval of measure R by LA County voters in 2008, the challenge/opportunity to grow manufacturing jobs became apparent. LA had begun to embark on an amazing program of rebuilding and expanding our public transit system, yet most of the equipment purchased by LA transit agencies or manufactured overseas. The initial general question that I posed was how we can we use public procurement to rebuild and improve manufacturing jobs and opportunities in Los Angeles and the country. In particular, I was looking at the purchase of major equipment by the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) for the expanding public transit system.
During 2012 and 2013, after stepping down as executive director of LAANE, I did extensive research on policy options for transit agencies to include job creation and equity language in large procurements of equipment. That research had led to the development of a policy that was piloted by LA Metro and then reviewed and approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation for use by transit agencies procuring with Federal money. By the end of 2013, I had helped to create a new project called Jobs to Move America which I believed could be the vehicle to move a program around public procurement and good manufacturing jobs. But what would that program look like?
In addition, after looking at the companies manufacturing buses and trains for the US market, it became clear that nearly every one was a foreign enterprise, with a home base in either Europe or Asia. Given that capital has become global, how could we develop an effective campaign to win good jobs and economic development related to transportation investment when the decision makers were all in Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Beijing?
The Proposal: I initially saw the Stanton Fellowship as an opportunity to educate myself and learn. I knew a lot about economic development, but in the US economic development is so often associated with real estate development. I was more interested in industrial policy to achieve the improvement and expansion of manufacturing jobs. So what was the experience in other countries, particularly those countries where the major manufacturers were located? To what extent did public procurement form a part of industrial policy? And what were/are the other elements of strong industrial policy, for example workforce and vocational development, support for innovation and research and development, the building of clusters, etc.
Secondly, I wanted to analyze and learn about the major bus and train manufacturing companies doing business in the US market, where in the world they had the greatest market share, where around the world they were primarily bidding and where their factories were located.
Thirdly, I wanted to visit Europe and build relationships with key stakeholders to help me and my colleagues learn and develop strategy, particular with unions, companies and key opinion leaders.
Finally, after visiting Europe and doing all of the research, I proposed to follow up and build ongoing relationships with and from the targeted companies and the unions that represent their employees in their home countries.
The Stanton Journey: For the first 6 months of my Stanton journey, I read huge numbers of books, articles and did a number of interviews with academic and transportation and industrial policy experts around the globe. I started out with a focus on European industrial policy, and read extensively on urban development and transportation development and manufacturing clusters in Germany, England, France, Spain and Sweden and even a little bit about the Netherlands. I wanted to get a broader sense of how industrial policy had been developed post-World War II in Europe through both national programs and the European Union. I also wanted to understand how the transportation infrastructure of Europe, which is extraordinary, was developed through multiple interconnected infrastructure projects throughout Europe. I ended up focusing more specifically on Germany, and France, where I decided to focus my travels.
During my Fellowship, I also attended several industry conferences with both national and international transportation leaders and I joined the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), to deepen my relationships and learn from company leadership and transportation policymakers. I visited bus and railcar factories in South Carolina and in upstate New York to talk about the interconnectedness of their business, public procurement, strong workforce development and regional economic development.
I did extensive planning for my February 2015 trip to Europe. I researched and solicited support from 2 European foundations, one in France in one in Germany, in order to get better access to key officials and other support so that I could bring a colleague along on the trip. Fortunately, I was successful and won support from these foundations, who assisted us in setting up numerous meetings, arranging for internal transportation within each country and in interpreting for us at the meetings. During this trip, it became clear that the most relevant model to the Jobs to Move America strategy was the German industrial model developed in the past 70 years since World War II.
Where You Are Now: During the last part of my Fellowship, I began the work of integrating both the research and the experience into the overall Jobs to Move America campaign. Attached is a strategy chart that has evolved from this experience. One of the things that I learned is that it is possible to build a global community/labor program to deal appropriately with the global nature of manufacturers competing for contracts in the US. As part of the Jobs to Move America strategy, we have incorporated a global component and are planning extensive trips and relationship building work with companies and unions and opinion leaders in China, Japan, Germany and Eastern Canada (and eventually Spain).
After the 2 years of building out the program, raising funding, winning numerous policy factories, on January 1, 2016 Jobs to Move America separated from LAANE (which still remains JMA’s fiscal agent) and now has 13 staff positions located primarily in Los Angeles, but also in Chicago and New York. The work of the Stanton Fellowship has been fully integrated into the permanent strategy of Jobs to Move America.