About the National Labor College
The National Labor College (NLC) is one of a kind, the only college in the United States with an exclusive mission to serve the educational needs of the labor movement. It is an activist institution made up of students, faculty and alumni who together form a learning community based on a common understanding of the world of work and the ecology of the labor movement. The College respects that its student body is made up of experienced, highly skilled working adults who have multiple commitments to family, job, union and community. In its academic programs, the NLC honors higher learning that takes place both inside and outside the collegiate community.
The National Labor College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. 215-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Click here to download the NLC Viewbook. (PDF) 600 KB
By establishing the physical and intellectual space for the labor movement to imagine its future, the mission of the NLC is to make higher education available to workers, to prepare union members, leaders and staff for the challenges of a changing global environment; and to serve as a center for progressive thought and learning.
The NLC works to achieve the following institutional goals, which are guided by our mission, vision and values:
- To articulate and transmit the values of the labor movement to successive generations of union members
- To respond to the needs of those in the labor movement for knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to secure their futures and those of their families
- To incorporate workplace and union learning into degree programs in order to provide efficient and effective pathways to degree completion for workers
- To provide unions and labor-related organizations with members and leaders who are critical thinkers and skilled communicators
- To work in partnership with unions and other organizations who support the labor movement to provide relevant and collaborative programs that advance the movement
Vision and Values
Since its inception in the 19th century, the American labor movement has placed great emphasis on education. In 1969 the leaders of this movement founded the George Meany Center, which became the National Labor College, in order to offer the high quality education and training programs necessary to produce a diverse movement of working men and women dedicated to a more equitable and just society.
The contemporary labor movement faces the twin challenges of rapid technological change and a hostile political environment, which have together produced a long-term decline in union density. In recognition of these challenges, another critical role of the NLC is to explore labor’s often underappreciated role in the development of a stable middle class in the world’s most prosperous society and to transmit the values of the movement to all workers, especially younger people who may not know of labor’s essential role in the development of this society.
The labor movement’s values that are embodied today at the NLC are the same values that first brought working people together in a common movement to advance and protect their interests in the spheres of politics, economics and culture. Among these values are the following:
- Labor is the source of all wealth
- There is honor and dignity in all work
- Working people should have equal protection under the law and the freedom to bargain collectively to advance and protect their interests
- Education is the key to a free and democratic labor movement
- Democratic trade unions are essential to economic justice and to a free and democratic society
- For working people to fully realize their potential and that of their children, they must have equal access to high quality education at all levels
- Labor arts and culture are an essential part of education, as they provide the labor movement with its soul and spirit
National Labor College Outcomes
NLC graduates achieve the following outcomes as a result of their educational experience, rooted, again, in our mission, vision and values:
- Leadership: The ability to reflect upon, share and deconstruct experience with a goal of improving personal and organizational leadership practices.
- Critical Thinking: The ability to understand, question, analyze and discuss underlying assumptions that define a particular position or viewpoint.
- Effective Communication: The ability to clearly communicate, orally and in writing.
- Global Thinking: The ability to understand complexities of the economic, political and social environment.
- Information Literacy: The ability to analyze and make intelligent decisions based upon massive amounts of information, determine the nature and extent of needed information, know where to obtain critical information, and assess the validity of sources.
- Technological Proficiency: The ability to understand and use basic digital communication tools to function effectively in the changing society.