The Labor Studies Major is an interdisciplinary academic field encompassing labor and worker history, organizational development, international relations, organizing, advocacy, adult education and training, understanding democratic institutions and leadership development. Labor Studies—particularly within public higher education-- is inherently a field of engaged scholarship as its members--faculty, staff and students-- are also members and active participants in the organized labor movement. In the role of “insider intellectual,” Labor Studies practitioners are uniquely placed to provide critical analysis of historic controversies and strategic barriers to social, political and organizational transformation. The academy has a special role in addressing issues such as diversity and inclusiveness, economic transformation, workforce development and 21st century skills.
The B.A. in Labor Studies at UMass is the only one in New England and is covered by the New England Compact. Expansion of on-line course delivery and intensive course offerings will enhance recruitment across the region. As a component program of the Labor Resource Center, the Labor Studies major has untapped potential for the expansion of student internships and service learning. Many graduates go on to the Masters in Labor Studies at UMass Amherst and the program has a strong history of employment of graduates in leadership positions in labor organizations, government and other public service positions.