The New Program Will Create a New Generation of Highly Trained Advocates and Leaders
SAFE has teamed up with legislators such as Mike Gatto in the past. Now, SAFE is working directly with Gatto's former press secretary to train the next generation of legislative advocates for safer streets.
SAFE is proud to announce the creation of a new legislative advocacy training and education program designed to equip a new generation of leaders with the tools and knowledge they need to advocate for safer streets across California effectively.
The training and education program is free for students 18 and older currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at an accredited college or university majoring in political science, public policy, pre-law, non-profit or public administration, or other subjects related to building movements for safer streets. Participants in the program will gain real-life experience, expert training and instruction, and an opportunity to build a portfolio of work-product, including the opportunity to work towards successful passage of actual street-safety legislation at the local, state, and federal levels.
60% of all time spent in the program is dedicated to direct training and instruction, including opportunities to learn directly from guest speakers who are experts in marketing, communication, lobbying, the legislative process, and state and municipal law. The remainder of the program time is dedicated to completing assignments and practicing skills developed in the direct training and instructional sessions, researching street safety and public policy, and attending and even presenting at educational, community, and outreach events. The training itself is free for students, and stipends are available to help cover indirect costs related to participation, such as fuel reimbursement, ensuring that no student is excluded from participation due to their financial means.
Specific training modules are also available for a nominal fee to community organizers, non-profit organizations, local elected officials, and other non-students looking to beef up specific lobbying, media, advocacy, and movement-building skills and knowledge. Proceeds support SAFE's legislative advocacy, including the training program and stipends for the students.
Regular instructional training is provided in cooperation with the Communicate Justice Initiative at J. Hager Consulting, a consulting firm with significant experience in the California legislative process, higher-education programming, and advocacy for safer streets. J. Hager Consulting works exclusively with non-profit organizations, small businesses, institutions of higher education, and local governments to provide expert training and consulting services for organizations and entities that may not have the budget or need for full-time marketing, communication, or strategic planning staff. The Communicate Justice Initiative provides training and resources specifically for organizations and entities working to create a more equitable and socially just society while helping connect advocacy organizations with relevant resources and experts. The company's founder, Justin Hager, has been part of the SAFE team since the very beginning, helping to spearhead efforts to raise awareness of SAFE Founder Damian Kevitt's tragic hit-and-run and pass legislation addressing California's hit-and-run epidemic while serving as the Press Secretary and Communications Director for California Assemblymember Mike Gatto.
"Most non-profit organizations can't afford to hire a K-street lobbyist to help them advocate for legislative solutions to the problems plaguing our streets and our society," said Hager. "The Communicate Justice Initiative is here to fill that gap. The training and education offered by SAFE and Communicate Justice will create an army of people with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to build movements and effectively advocate for safer streets and good public policy in California and across the country."
A pilot version of the program officially kicked off in May, focusing on SB 735, the SAFE-sponsored bill to allow automated speed enforcement cameras installed in school zones in California. Inaugural trainee, Cole Barrios, a rising sophomore majoring in Public Policy at the University of Southern California, has given the program rave reviews.
"The program isn't just focused on theories of how government should work; it's focused on the nuts and bolts of how government actually works and how to seek change efficiently and effectively," said Barrios. "I feel like I've gained a more in-depth understanding about the California legislative process and how legislation is actually passed than would have been possible in a purely classroom setting ... It would definitely be a great benefit to many of the organizations that I've volunteered for in the past."
The SAFE Legislative Advocacy Training and Education Program will begin taking applications for student trainees in September. A full-scale launch of the program is expected when the legislature reconvenes for its next session in October 2021.
Individuals and organizations interested in learning more about the specific training modules and fees should contact Justin Hager at .