Women Innovating Labor Leadership (WILL) Empower 


Women Innovating Labor Leadership (WILL) Empower is a bold and ambitious new initiative to identify, nurture, train, and convene a new generation of women labor leaders. WILL Empower employs a broad, multi-pronged approach that interfaces with women on multiple levels and through interwoven programs. 

WILL Empower is a national program, jointly housed at Rutgers University’s Center for Innovation in Worker Organization in the School of Management and Labor Relations in New Jersey and Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor in Washington, DC. It is the legacy project of the Berger-Marks Foundation. We proudly introduce WILL Empower's Advisory Council. View our council membersRead more about the WILL Empower initiative via The American Prospect and visit the WILL Empower website

 Our programs include:


We are accepting applications for the Emerging Leaders Cohort of Learning and Mentoring. Applications are due by January 31, 2019, and the opening retreat is April 11 - 14, 2019. Click here to apply.  



Innovative Women Fellowships

The fellowship program invites applications from activists who need time and support to develop new ideas for advancing social and economic justice in today’s transforming economy, especially on issues that impact women workers and organizing. The program will leverage university resources to enrich the fellowships, and includes a stipend and robust mentoring support. The fellowships will run from three to four months.

Cohorts of Collective Learning and Mentoring

WILL Empower will build new cohorts of learning among two groups of women involved in labor and economic justice organizations: next-generation leaders in early stages of their work life and experienced women ready to advance. The experienced cohort is designed to build a pipeline for senior leadership roles in unions and other worker justice organizations. Both groups will benefit from individualized leadership plans, cohort gatherings, a dynamic mentorship program, and curated trainings. There will be multiple cohort classes taking place throughout the program. For more information on joining our WILL Empower cohorts, contact willempower.labor[at]gmail.com.

Apprenticeship Program

The apprenticeship program is a recruitment and on-ramp platform for staff positions; it is designed to seed the movement by steering promising candidates toward labor work at an early career stage. Though there are a number of internship programs available to college students, recent graduates or people who did not go to college often have difficulty entering staff positions. The early-job programs that do exist tend to focus only on organizing.

WILL Empower will recruit recent college graduates and rank-and-file activists and place them in staff apprenticeships with unions and worker organizations in a range of capacities, such as in policy, research, communications, organizing, politics and civil and human rights. The apprentices will receive strong mentoring and support, and will participate in the learning cohort. The apprenticeship will run from three to twelve months. To become or host a WILL Empower apprentice at your organization, contact willempower.labor[at]gmail.com.