Founded in 1948 by a group of forward thinking labor leaders and progressive academics, DePaul University's Labor Education Center serves as a resource center to students, labor activists, academics and community leaders seeking a deeper understanding of labor issues and economic justice. To help build the next generation of labor movement leaders, the Center develops the skills of emerging leaders and assists some of the most seasoned labor professionals to identify opportunities and craft strategic approaches to overcoming adversity.
The Center builds the capacity of unions and worker organizations to address a challenging political and economic environment through high school and college union training, continued education programs, and the facilitation of transformative conversations about the labor movement.
What we offer:
Three Year Labor Leadership Certificate Program
Our Labor Leadership Certificate Program trains students to be labor leaders through progressive coursework over three years. Weekly seminars are held in the fall and spring. Credit from these courses may also be applied toward a BA or MA degree
• 1st Year: writing skills, grievance process, public speaking, labor law, parliamentary procedure.
• 2nd Year: collective bargaining and arbitration.
• 3rd Year: organizing, campaign planning , economics, labor history, health and safety, labor in politics.
Regina V. Polk High School Program
The Labor Education Center’s Regina V. Polk High School Program provides labor education curriculum to more than 3,000 Illinois high school students annually. This program includes:
• Collective Bargaining Simulations: Mock labor negotiations are held in coordination with high schools across the state, providing students a chance to engage in and experience contract negotiations in a one-day simulation that brings the process to life.
• Union Summer School: In our intensive one-week union summer school program, Chicago area high school students learn about labor history, collective bargaining, and how organized labor is critical to achieving economic justice.
Contact us to start a simulation program at your school or organiztion, or enroll in our summer school.
High School Summer Internship Program
Our Center offers paid internships for high school students in coordination with local union and worker center campaigns. Interns have the opportunity to get hands-on organizing experience at their placement organizations, and are provided with a two day orientation and weekly cohort meetings focused on helping them learn about the labor movement, and understand their role in strengthening rights for all workers. Contact us to apply for an internship or inquire about placing students at your organization.
Individualized Classes and Trainings
We work with unions, worker centers, and community groups to develop specific classes and trainings to fit their needs. Such courses have included but are not limited to introduction to the labor movement, labor history, steward and grievance handling, addressing sexual harassment and racial discrimination, campaign mobilization, labor-community partnership, research skills, public speaking, labor law, and organizational solidarity building, as well as in depth workshops on any of the topics listed in our Labor Leadership Certificate Program. Contact us if you are interested in setting up a training for your organization.
Community Book Events and Workshops
Educational programming, including book events and workshops, are held throughout the year at our center. These events are open to all, and aim to facilitate learning and discussion about issues of concern to workers and working-class communities. Contact us to learn about upcoming events and if you have suggestions for future ones.
The Center’s staff and partners have experience producing independent and collaborative research with labor and community based organizations, and are available to work with your organization on general research, campaign research, member focused, and policy related projects. We are trained in qualitative, survey, historical, and analytical research methods, and are also part of the Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN)
which connects with researchers across the country. Contact us for support on your research project or training needs.
Labor History Tours
To bring the history of the workers struggle for economic justice to life, our staff regularly lead tours of key labor history sites in the Chicago area. Our most popular tour is in the Chicago neighborhood of Pullman. Contact us to schedule a field trip for your high school class or union.
For more information on the Center or to get involved in any of our programs, please contact us:
14 East Jackson Blvd., Suite 1524, Chicago, IL 60604
If you would like to support our work, please Donate to the Center and be sure to list "Labor Education Center" under "Other Funds."