Jessica Cook-Qurayshi began
her work with the Center as the Lead Instructor in January 2016 and became the Director of the Center in August 2016. Jessica joined the labor movement as a staff organizer and staff union steward at the UNITE HERE international from 2006-2009. She then spent 7 years as a leader and steward with the Graduate Employees Organization (IFT-AFT Local 6297) while working as an instructor in Sociology at UIC, where she earned her PhD
. She has also worked closely as a volunteer and researcher with multiple Chicago based worker centers since 2010. Jessica has a PhD
in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her doctoral research focused on the labor movement, worker centers, mass incarceration and criminalization, immigration, citizenship, race and ethnicity, civil society, precarious work, and labor market restructuring.
joined the Center in August of 2017 as the new Associate Director, bringing more than 20 years of experience as both an educator and union leader. Steve recently retired from a 27-year career as a high school social studies teacher. His first four years were in Chicago Public Schools,
and the last 23 years at Niles West High School. In addition to teaching, Steve began working in union leadership in 1997 and has served as the President of the North Suburban Teachers Union, IFT-AFT Local 1274, since 2010. He is also one of 40 elected Vice Presidents of the IFT and serves on its Executive Committee.
Our Advisory Committee is comprised of former students and labor leaders who support the Center's programming. Below are the current members: