Why Economic Justice?

Too many people work hard every day for paychecks that don’t cover the basic costs of living. As the economy has recovered for those at the top, many people are trapped in jobs paying poverty wages. The economy is particularly slanted against women, communities of color, and workers in some of San Diego’s largest industries – including hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. Low-wage jobs also are least likely to provide earned sick time and other benefits, and most open to abuses such as wage theft.

The Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) was founded in 1997 on the bedrock principle that everyone deserves access to education and job training, good jobs paying living wages, healthcare, and safe places to live. CPI works for policy solutions that create economic justice. We research targeted issues, use our research data to develop policy solutions, and work with community partners and elected officials to implement those solutions.


Governing for the Common Good

A drive through San Diego’s older urban neighborhoods reveals the effects of more than three decades of underinvestment in our sidewalks, roads, public buildings, parks, and other infrastructure. In those same neighborhoods, years of budget cuts have depleted public services such as library hours, rec programs, trash collection and fire protection. Public safety suffers and environmental hazards proliferate in neighborhoods where people have the least protective resources.

The Center on Policy Initiatives believes that governments need to invest equitably in every neighborhood. CPI is dedicated to developing solutions to bring equitable investment to neglected neighborhoods. We provide the research documenting both the need and the revenue possibilities for infrastructure and service improvements. We reach out to community residents and organizations to increase civic involvement in the issues and develop proposed solutions, and then we work with governmental bodies to bring about real change.

Students for Economic Justice

The Students for Economic Justice (SEJ) summer fellowship is an intensive six-week program for committed student activists. The fellows gain hands-on organizing experience in a local campaign for economic justice, and also receive skills and informational trainings from experienced organizers and community leaders. The goal of the program is to build the next generation of young leaders and community organizers who will effectively push forward social change and economic justice in San Diego.

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Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute

The Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a six-month program for emerging leaders from low-income and underrepresented communities in the San Diego region who wish to serve on local and regional boards and commissions. The Institute trains participants in the necessary skills and tools to be effective members of boards and commissions, and provides support to help them obtain seats on decision-making bodies and then pass policies that advance racial and economic equity. The goal is to give community members and advocates not just a voice but also a vote on important decisions that affect life in their communities.

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