Applied Research and Policy

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The Labor Summer Applied Research and Policy track teaches students applied research skills that are used in unions and community organizations. Students get the opportunity to learn from union and policy researchers involved in some of the nation’s most exciting and important organizing and policy campaigns that are making a difference for working people, especially immigrants and people of color.

Students who apply for this track may engage in a variety of applied research and advocacy activities depending on the needs of the host organization, such as:

  • Finding and compiling secondary data for corporate, industry, and issue analysis
  • Collecting primary data using interviews and other qualitative methods
  • Analyzing legislation and policy proposals at the state and local levels
  • Analyzing and summarizing financial statements and other budget documents
  • Cleaning and analyzing data sets using programs like Excel, STATA, SPSS, or R
  • Writing reports, memos, policy briefs, and talking points for labor and community leaders
  • Giving presentations and making recommendations to diverse audiences

Research Workshop

Interns in this track participate in a two-day applied research workshop during orientation week, where they learn from researchers working at labor unions and community-based organizations. They will learn how applied research can help shape strategy and campaign planning in a labor environment.

Research track applicants should have previous training in either qualitative or quantitative methods and want to learn how to apply these methods to real-world labor organizing and policy campaigns. It is also important for research interns to be able to take initiative and work independently.

Past Applied Research and Policy interns have:

Career opportunities

Students who have participated in Labor Summer’s Applied Research and Policy program have used the skills they learned long after their internships ended. Many of these interns remain connected to the labor movement, either with their host site or in a related organization. Some continue as graduate student researchers during the academic year; others find new topics for their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation; still others take permanent staff jobs with labor organizations as researchers, educators, and organizers.

Still have questions about the program?
Frequently Asked Questions

"This experience really grounded me and helped me focus on why I do what I do in school and how important it is for academia to ground itself outside of the campus walls. If you're interested in social change and learning, this is an amazing opportunity to do both."
- Labor Summer Intern