“Union leaders have to grow the labor movement and have the ‘spirit of organizing’ to create a ‘culture of change’ – this is priority number one for the Pennsylvania Labor Leadership Institute. This program is for activists sponsored by their unions – individuals that are seen as leaders in their organization. The Institute based the program on leadership skills that our unions have identified as what labor needs to build the movement. The Labor Leadership Institute will make a difference for working people on the job and in the community.

Rick Bloomingdale, President, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

Check out our student orgs

Student Organizations!

Contact Us

LER Main Office
506 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-5425
Fax: (814) 867-4169

Map it!

Map of keller building

You are here: Home / The LABOR School at Penn State / The Labor Leadership Institute (LLI)

The Labor Leadership Institute (LLI)

The Labor Leadership Institute (LLI) is an intensive leadership development program co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and Penn State’s Labor School (part of the School of Labor and Employment Relations) for full-time, high-level union leaders and staff that meets periodically over the course of a year

The LLI was developed to better prepare labor leaders to effectively and strategically tackle the challenges and new opportunities facing the labor movement.  The program focuses on broadening and expanding the leadership skills of the participants. And because the program includes leaders from building trades, industrial, service, and  professional unions, it provides an unique opportunity to enhance understanding and build solidarity across the unions that make up the Pennsylvania labor movement.

The program curriculum is based on a series of in-depth discussions with top officers from Pennsylvania’s leading unions and was modeled on the successful Cornell University/NY State AFL-CIO Union Leadership Institute, one of the top advanced union leadership programs in the country. The program will regularly consult with officers of the largest unions in Pennsylvania to ensure that the curriculum will equip participants with the knowledge and abilities they will need to meet the challenges labor will face. in the year ahead.

The LLI is an intensive, hands-on program with three components: seminars, individual projects, and workshops. Sessions include leadership and managerial skills, and address critical economic, political and social questions. Instructors will include prominent union leaders, leading consultants, and top labor educators from Penn State and other universities. Participants enter the Institute during the first four day seminar in June at Penn State’s main campus in State College. They complete a series of three (3) two-day seminars during the year, and graduate at the conclusion of the second four day seminar the following summer.

When is the Program?

The next Labor Leadership Institute will begin in early 2017 with applications due in Fall of 2016.  Please check back after May 1, 2016.


Unions Participating in the 2015-2016 Labor Leadership Institutes

ALL PENNSYLVANIA UNIONS are invited to send participants to the 2016 LLI.  The past two annual Pennsylvania AFL-CIO/Penn State Labor Leadership Institutes have included participants from:

  • IBEW
  • UFCW
  • Operating Engineers
  • CWA
  • Transport Workers Union
  • Amalgamated Transit Workers
  • SEIU
  • Jobs for Justice

Application Process

A maximum of 25 participants are accepted for each year’s Institute. Candidates must be nominated and sponsored by their organization.

Applying to the Institute is a two-part process: first, unions nominate possible participants from their membership by submitting a nomination form; second, applicants nominated by their union complete and submit an application form. All forms are available below.

For more information on the LLI, contact , Labor Education Coordinator.

See our latest newsletter please click here.