The Women’s Press Collective (WPC) is an independent, private, all-volunteer, membership organization, located in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn. They are open seven days a week and run solely on donations and support of the volunteers. Recently, they have expanded with an office in Europe, based in Switzerland.

WPC was founded in 1982 to advance the low-income workers in the workplace. The organization was inspired by the “Second International Conference of Agriculture and Working Women,” which was held in Texas in 1981. Women who had a background in Arts started a publication to advance the voice of low-income men and women who provided the tedious labor on the fields and was excluded from benefits and fair wages.

The organization membership includes writers, graphic designers, printers and low-income workers. Community supporters and those who work in the media department also contribute their time and donation to WPC. The Brooklyn office mainly consists of two to three full-time volunteers, including Operational Manager, Lisa D, and Danell who holds the role of Benefit Program Organizer.

Through the Benefit Program, members have full access to free training in Press Operation, Writing, Desktop Publishing and a copy of WPC’s quarterly magazine, Collective Endeavor. Members pass on their skills in their field to other members or volunteers willing to learn.

WPC’s primary business is aimed towards making publishing facilities more accessible to other organizations. Their strategy and tactics in organizing have helped them to evolve into the company they are today. In addition to printing , WPC has also helped in disaster relief to poor communities that were not provided any assistance by the government, during Hurricane Sandy. This disaster relief is now shifting internationally, sending support to Haiti due to Hurricane Matthew.

Their clients varies from local businesses to volunteers wanting help in organizing a project. A big part of the organization is training volunteers to learn the skills required to help in publishing the magazine and changing the way the media serves the people.

The first week of my internship at WPC was very informative. I received a very thorough lesson in burning a plate and then using it to print on the MC 1650 printing press. My training was very hands on and I feel as though I am learning a lot, considering I had no prior knowledge of printing, much less operating an ancient piece of machinery nicknamed “Frankie.”  I’ve assisted in printing business cards, letterheads and flyers, both one and two color printing.