Labor Intern Program

Introduction

The Labor Intern Program has been indefinitely suspended since 2010. For over forty years, the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations had partnered with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development each year to offer union activists and leaders an opportunity to learn more about the programs and services of the Department. The most recent model of the program consisted of a six-week, full-time educational program. The interns spent the first week at the Rutgers Labor Education Center in New Brunswick in seminars focusing on the history of the trade union movement, current labor issues, and union and worker rights on the job. The remaining five weeks of the internship were based at the Department headquarters in Trenton, N.J. During this second phase of the program, the interns met with top management and key leadership of the Department in order to learn first-hand the many services available to union members and workers. Interns had the opportunity to visit courtrooms, call centers and other Department field offices as well as accompany inspectors in the field as they enforced labor standards around New Jersey.

More than six hundred labor interns have successfully completed this unique program and returned to their positions in the New Jersey Labor Movement with a greater understanding of the breadth of the services available to their members from state government. The knowledge that the interns gained is of direct benefit to union members and other New Jersey workers in need of critical services or programs. Over the years, the Labor Intern Program has made a positive and lasting impact on the state's workforce and the quality of work life.

Program Description

Selection:

The class of eight interns was selected by the Rutgers program staff based on the following factors:

  1. Commitment to the ideals of the Labor Movement
  2. Positions and activities in their union and community
  3. Recommendation of their local president
  4. Ability to secure a six week leave of absence from their employer

Orientation:

Prior to the beginning of the internship, the class was required to attend a program orientation at the Rutgers Labor Education Center to learn about the specific requirements and expectations for the program. Representatives of the Department and Rutgers participated in the orientation.

Week #1:

Interns attended classes at the Rutgers Labor Education Center. All classes were taught by faculty members from the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations. Topics included: Labor History, Immigrants' Rights, Collective Bargaining, Current Labor Issues, and Labor Economics.

Weeks #2-6:

Interns were based at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Graduation:

Graduation ceremonies were held at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Intern Stipend

Interns received a weekly stipend of $800 during the program. The stipend was processed and paid by Rutgers. The Department issued a grant in the amount of $34,400 to Rutgers prior to the start of the program to cover the cost of intern stipends.

For More Information on the History of the Program

Read "On-the-Job Study of State Government: A Unique Internship for Union Leaders" by Robert A. Steffen

Questions?

Contact Tracy F. H. Chang, Director of LEARN at 848-932-1747 or by email at tracyc@work.rutgers.edu