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Center for Labor Research and Education


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Labor Summer


June 19–August 11, 2017

General Information

Contact: Kineshia Cadogan, 510-642-1027,

The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center) and co-sponsor San Francisco Central Labor Council offers an exciting opportunity for students to become summer interns with cutting-edge unions and community-based organizations in Northern and possibly Central California. The Labor Summer Internship Program is an innovative PAID internship for graduate and undergraduate students, providing opportunities to learn from and work with unions and labor organizations on issues vital to California’s working people.

Students spend eight weeks with labor unions or community-based organizations, learning how to apply their skills in real-world settings to make a difference for working people, especially immigrants and people of color.

Why apply to the Labor Summer Internship Program?

Many working people in California face a host of employment challenges such as health and safety violations, wage theft, low wages, and unpredictable scheduling. This internship offers students the opportunity to hone their skills alongside people who are working for positive change to address those challenges. With energetic leadership and a commitment to organize immigrants and workers in diverse industries, the labor movement is at the forefront of campaigns for social and economic justice. By interning with labor and community organizations, students can learn through service about the important issues facing workers, immigrants, women, and people of color.

How it works

The UC Berkeley Labor Center offers PAID internships to graduate and undergraduate students to learn how to organize and do research to support social and economic justice for workers in California. The program has two tracks: Learn Organizing Skills and Applied Research and Policy.

  • Interns begin with an intensive orientation during the week of June 19-23 to learn the basics of the U.S. labor movement, with a special focus on Northern California labor issues. The orientation also covers an introduction to the students’ host sites.
  • Mid-week the tracks divide into separate 2-day trainings specific to each track: Learn Organizing Skills or Strategic Research
  • Interns are hosted by a union or community-based organization for seven weeks where they will be exposed to a campaign.
  • Over the course of the internship, students return to the Labor Center for three additional day-long sessions to reflect on their experiences in the field and receive additional skills-building training.
  • Interns receive guidance from both an off-site mentor who is familiar with the Labor Summer program and has years of social justice experience as well as a supervisor at their site who is engaged in a workplace or community campaign.
  • The program concludes with a graduation ceremony where interns share their experience over the summer and how the program has affected them.
  • Students are required to produce an 8-10 page final report and a final evaluation of the program.

Requirements to participate in Labor Summer

  • All applicants should want to work with unions or community-based organizations with a worker-organizing component. An interest in working on social and economic justice issues and the ability to work with a diverse population is essential.
  • Applicants must be current students and at least 18 years old at the beginning of the internship placement. Applicants must be enrolled in classes either the semester/quarter before or the semester/quarter after they participate in Labor Summer.
  • Graduate students must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average; may not have more than two incomplete grades in upper division or graduate courses on their transcript; and must be in good academic standing.
  • Some placements will require proficiency in a specific language, such as Spanish or Cantonese.
  • Some, but not all placements, will require access a car or reliable transportation.
  • The internship will run for eight weeks from Monday, June 19 to Friday, August 11, 2017. You must be available for the entire length of the internship to participate. Hours and days of work will vary depending on the project.
  • This paid internship is a full-time commitment. Interns will spend the majority of their time at placement sites, but will also be required to attend education and training sessions at the Labor Center.
  • An intensive orientation will take place June 19-23 on the UC Berkeley campus. You must be available to participate in orientation activities before reporting to your internship site in order to take part in the program.


Undergraduate student interns will be paid $15.00 per hour.

Graduate student interns will be paid $18.18 per hour.

The UC Berkeley Labor Center and the Labor Summer Internship Program welcome participation from students of all genders and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Students of color, women, LGBTQIA identified students, DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) students, and students from low-income and working-class backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Should I apply?

Have you ever organized a meeting? Researched an issue? Volunteered in your community? Taught a class? Do you have the courage to knock on a door and listen to someone’s story? Can you imagine a better future for the working poor? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes” or if you want to learn how to do these things, then Labor Summer is for you!

Students with specific needs or requirements for their programs, please contact Kineshia Cadogan at

How to apply

We will conduct rolling admissions and we encourage students to apply early as the program is very competitive. We typically receive over 100 applications for 20-25 slots. The timeline for the application process is as follows:

Due date for applications is Monday, February 27 at 8 a.m. PST.

Interviews will be held in March/April and internship offers will be made in April/May.

Apply to the Labor Summer Internship Program’s Learn Organizing Skills track.

Apply to the Labor Summer Internship Program’s Applied Research and Policy track.

Apply to host a Labor Summer Intern at your union or community organization.