Each year, workers from Iowa and across the nation travel to the University of Iowa campus to attend Labor Center courses focused on labor and employment laws, workplace health and safety, civil rights, collective bargaining, organizational leadership skills, and contemporary labor policy issues. 

Classes are taught by Labor Center staff, university faculty, and other subject matter experts.  Programs vary from one-day conferences to weeklong residential leadership schools. Our classes feature interactive discussions, case studies, and small group exercises that encourage participants to apply course content and their own experiences to a variety of hypothetical workplace scenarios. Lodging is available on or near campus (see individual program flyers for details).

The Labor Center's signature open enrollment program is our annual "Labor Short Course," a five-day intensive leadership course designed for emerging leaders in unions and workers' centers. The Short Course equips participants with a foundation in labor history, public speaking, national and global labor policy issues, organizing, workplace legal rights, and much more. 

Download our 2023-24 program brochure for a complete list of on-campus programs and then register below.  All in-person courses will take place in the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. 


Program attendees always leave with new ideas and information to bring back to their communities, and the confidence to apply the skills they learned. Register today!

Host Your National and Regional Leadership Conferences on the University of Iowa Campus!

Labor Center instructors regularly travel to present sessions for conferences held off-campus, but we also partner with labor organizations to host their regional and national leadership conferences on the University of Iowa campus. In 2023 alone, we welcomed participants from 30 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico to our campus for weeklong leadership institutes. In the past several years, we have hosted in-person and online conferences such as:

  • CWA New Staff Training
  • CWA Minority Leadership Institute
  • CWA District 7 Leadership Conference
  • UFCW Meatpacking Health and Safety Conference
  • Midwest School for Women Workers
  • Rail Worker Health & Safety Conference
  • Iowa Women in the Trades Leadership Conference
  • BlueGreen Alliance of Iowa: Labor and Climate Justice Summit
  • Midwest Labor Press Association Annual Conference
  • APWU Postal Press Association
  • APWU Tri-State Conference

In addition, the Labor Center hosts an annual one-day public conference that convenes unions, workers' centers, faith-based organizations, civil rights groups, students, faculty, and national keynote speakers to discuss intersectional societal challenges related to workers and work. Past conferences have featured leaders of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha, Restaurant Opportunities Center, Interfaith Worker Justice, New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, and the BlueGreen Alliance.

Upcoming On-Campus Programs

Workers' Compensation in Iowa
March 25-26, 2024
This two-day course is designed for union leaders, members, and staff interested in better understanding Iowa Code Chapter 85, Iowa's workers' compensation law. Sessions include a basic overview of Iowa's workers' comp law, the union role in assisting workers injured on the job, return to work issues and dealing with doctors. Speakers will include experienced workers' compensation attorneys and medical professionals.
Registration fee: $300/person

72nd Annual Labor Short Course
April 29-May 3, 2024
A week-long intensive course for Iowa union members, designed to educate and equip newer activists with essential skills and update and reinvigorate experienced leaders. Sessions will cover labor movement basics, leadership skills and legal tools.
Registration fee: $600/person

Would you prefer to sponsor a program for your organization in your community? Check out our off-campus program options.