Providing Worker Education and Building the Labor Movement: The Joseph S. Murphy Institute of City University of New York

TitleProviding Worker Education and Building the Labor Movement: The Joseph S. Murphy Institute of City University of New York
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsD'Amico, Deborah
JournalAdult Learning
Pagination12 - 17
Keywordsaccess to education, adult education, City University of New York, CUNY, Joseph S. Murphy Institute, labor force development, labor studies, partnerships in education, social justice, union members, worker education

To provide equitable access to formal, nonformal and workplace learning, experts urge community, business, education and government partnerships. While membership in unions continues to decline and "opportunities for entry-level workers to become skilled workers is lessening," the partnership described in this article shows that it is possible to increase access for transit workers, health care workers, construction workers, paraprofessionals, and others to career-enhancing growth through labor-management and university collaboration. This article describes an Institute within the City University of New York (CUNY), dedicated to education for union members, the growth and development of organized labor, and the struggle for social justice. The Joseph S. Murphy Institute is named after a former CUNY Chancellor who was a lifelong champion of worker education and workers' rights. The Worker Education Center of the Institute works with labor-management joint funds to meet the workforce development needs of local industries and their workers by fostering partnerships between these Funds and CUNY academic departments that have the requisite expertise. The Institute's Center for Labor, Community and Policy Studies works with unions and their allies to convene forums and conferences that debate issues key to the labor movement, conduct labor-focused research, and produce a critically acclaimed journal--New Labor Forum. This article looks at recent research on adult degree completion, and examines what is working with labor management funds--in the context of a labor-focused Institute at a major public, urban University--which adds to strategies for supporting success in college for adult workers.