Host an Intern

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Unions and community organizations today are facing unprecedented challenges. The Labor Summer program provides an extremely valuable and successful vehicle for students to learn how their skills and energy can connect with the labor movement and to working people. It allows students to contextualize their own experiences and to learn the importance of the labor movement through a critical framework. It provides resources and access to the University for unions and community organizations in the form of students, and perhaps most importantly, it provides preparation for and entry into the labor movement to a diverse group of students with valuable skills.

Training youth for the challenges ahead
The Labor Center carefully considers the needs and expectations of each host site organization based on their submitted applications. We develop a comprehensive five-day training to prepare students for the work they will be doing at their host organizations. Interns will learn:

  • the history of the labor movement and its intersections with other social justice movements;
  • current successes and challenges facing unions and social justice organizations;
  • current campaigns, presented by workers and community members;
  • “Organizing 101,” including one-on-one conversations, charting and mapping, and identifying leaders (“Learn Organizing Skills” track); and
  • conducting strategic corporate research and power mapping (“Research and Applied Policy” track).

Building organizational capacity
With the support of site supervisors, Labor Center staff, and mentors, Labor Summer interns enter their internship ready to learn and engage in their host organization’s projects and campaigns on their first day. Setting guidelines and expectations during orientation week allows our interns to best prepare for the pace and culture of each organization, and figure out how they can best participate in their sites during their seven- week placement. In the past, our “Learn Organizing Skills” interns have learned many strategies and tools for leadership development in the workplace or community. They have shadowed seasoned organizers who were conducting outreach and education to union and community members, developed communications and curricula for training members, and facilitated committee and coalition meetings. Our “Research and Applied Policy” interns have assisted research staff on long- and short-term projects that include industry and sectoral analyses, policy analysis, and research on regional and economic development.

Opportunities to recruit new talent
Unions also benefit from graduates of the program who constitute a highly-skilled, well-trained, and committed group of new talent. Over its 20-year history, the Labor Summer program has racked up an impressive record. It has trained and placed more than 300 interns. Alumni of the program have gone on to become union researchers, community and labor organizers, labor representatives, educators, and leaders and activists in their own union locals.

The Labor Summer program:

  • Recruits, screens, and selects the best interns based on your organizational needs.
  • Provides interns with an intensive week-long training, and three additional education and training days.
  • Supports host organizations with supervision guidelines and guidance on how to best use the intern’s skills.
  • Pairs interns with Labor Center staff or alumni of the program as mentors.

Requirements for host organizations

  • A clear project for interns including goals, objectives, and a timeline.
  • An assigned staff person to supervise the intern’s work, provide support and feedback, and be available to the intern.
  • An office location within commuting distance of the greater Bay Area or possibly Central California.
  • An ability to contribute funds up front for the intern’s stipend and training costs.
  • An ability to compensate interns using their own cars for mileage.
  • A commitment to release interns to attend three education and training sessions at the Labor Center as well as the graduation ceremony on August 14.

Program cost
$6,200 for an undergraduate student
$7,200 for a graduate student

This covers the pay of the intern for eight weeks (for graduate student researchers at $18.18 per hour and for undergraduate interns at $15 per hour) as well as modest administrative costs to run the program.

Interns will begin at their site placements on June 29, after they have completed their one-week orientation at the Labor Center.

"I could not have asked for a better intern. Not only did she arrive with a positive attitude that never faltered, but took on an ambitious set of projects and handled them amazingly well. She demonstrated a diverse skill set and impeccable flexibility that would make her very well-suited for this type of work. Extremely bright and thoughtful, she made the North Valley Labor Federation a better organization every day that she was here. I hope that her experience with our organization was as rewarding for her as it was for us to have her here."
- Labor Summer Host