What is CIWO?

Social movements require strong and diverse organizations, as well as skilled leadership to envision change, a dedicated and growing membership base to demand it, and a culture that encourages and moves innovative new strategies and structures that are rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice.

CIWO was created to help worker and community organizations address those challenges. By leveraging the resources of a highly respected research university, CIWO has emerged as a space where labor and community connect; where new research, ideas and strategies are shared and scrutinized; and where leaders and staff at all levels can refine their skills and develop new ones.

Whether new or firmly established, organizations need support and space to cope with today’s extraordinary challenges. Individuals within these organizations crave the opportunity to interact with peers and share new ideas. CIWO’s programs aim to help them strengthen internal structures and practices, support visionary leadership and develop organizing, outreach and training strategies.

CIWO offers a variety of programs tailored to the needs of rank-and-file activists, intermediate and executive level leaders and emerging women leaders, the majority of which are leaders of color. We recognize that increasing the capacity, skills and self-confidence of leaders at every level is an essential condition for building organizations and movements for racial and economic justice. The work that we do to support organizations & leaders happens locally, regionally, nationally and globally. 

CIWO promotes a holistic approach to organizing that offers multiple levels of support and on-going mentoring. CIWO also promotes movement-building synergy by serving as a safe and confidential gathering space, breaking down silos between community and labor organizing and sharing best practices, big ideas and even failures. Vibrant peer networks and communities of learning have emerged from these curated gatherings, enhancing CIWO’s role as a trusted resource for organizations and individuals across different organizing traditions and institutional networks.