About Us


The Birth of DHLI

DHLI emerged amidst dramatic changes in the jobs and industries in the Los Angeles region. The Los Angeles Community College District and Los Angeles unions formed an educational partnership and established an institute to prepare students for this new economy. DHLI educates and engages students in their future as workers and professionals through classes, events, educational simulations, and other resources.


The Dolores Huerta Labor Institute (DHLI) educates students about workers and unions in America. DHLI assists the Los Angeles Community College District faculty in developing labor-themed courses, integrating labor themes across the curriculum, and developing other labor-themed activities. By expanding awareness of labor history and the impact of unions, DHLI promotes critical thinking, enhances career prospects and encourages civic participation among students.

What We Do

Working people, unions and the labor movement play an important role in improving the lives of working individuals and families in Los Angeles County. DHLI is the first institute of its kind created to educate community college students about labor issues and history.  We develop learning opportunities that allow many of the students attending the nine campuses of LACCD to learn about the political, social, and cultural impact of work, the public and private policies that govern employment, the practice of democracy in the workplace and society, and the significance of the labor movement.

DHLI develops educational tools that inform and better prepare students for the workforce and social justice efforts.  We do this by offering teaching resources for faculty, classes, special lectures, film series, workshops, seminars, and labor role-play simulations. With these educational resources, students will leave the LACCD colleges well-informed and better prepared for the workforce. 


Why DHLI?  Because It’s Your Job, Your Life

Most adults spend at least half their waking hours engaged in some form of work activity.  During the last century, de-industrialization, deregulation, casualization, and information technology radically altered the ways in which work is done. These changes affect many aspects of the human condition. As a result, uneven opportunities emerged for different segments of the United States workforce.  The numbers of men and women who work full-time year round and continue to remain below the poverty threshold increased significantly. These changes even negatively impact the quality of life of professionals and technical employees. Consequently, social justice and self-determination are intimately connected to the workplace.  In order to be prepared to face the challenges of the workplace, community college students need the educational resources necessary to tackle the changing world of work. DHLI helps students face these challenges.

Our innovative program draws on the expertise of the directors of both of L.A.’s Labor Centers—John McDowell of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and Kent Wong of UCLA,as well as Joanne Waddell, President of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1521 and Don Gauthier, President of the LACCD District Academic Senate.  Additionally, several leading scholars in the field of labor studies and education sit on our Labor Scholars Advisory Board and ensure the academic integrity and real world relevance of our resources.

Labor Scholars Advisory Board 

  • Dr. Edna Bonacich, UCR Sociology and Ethnic Studies
  • Dr. Karen Brodkin, UCLA Anthropology
  • Dr. Jose Calderon, Pitzer College Sociology and Chicano Studies
  • Dr. Renny Christopher, CSUCI English
  • Mike Davis, UCR Creative Writing
  • Dr. Myrna Donahoe, CSUDH History and Women Studies
  • Dr. Peter Dreier, Director, Occidental College Urban and Environmental Policy Program
  • Dr. Patrick Finn, SUNY Buffalo Education
  • Fred Glass, Communications Director, California Federation of Teachers
  • Dr. Nelson Lichtenstein, Director, UCSB Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy
  • Dr. Sherry Linkon, Director, YSU Center for Working-Class Studies
  • Dr. Alejandra Marchevsky, CSULA Liberal Studies
  • Dr. Jim Miller, SDCC English and Labor Studies
  • Dr. William Mohr, CSULB English
  • Dr. Enrique Ochoa, Director, CSULA Latin American Studies
  • Dr. Charles O’connell, UCI Sociology
  • Dr. Steven Pitts, Labor Policy Specialist, UCB Labor Center
  • Dr. Vivian Price, Chair CSUDH Labor Studies
  • Dr. Ellen Reese, Chair, UCR Labor Studies Minor
  • Bill Shields, Director, SFCC Labor and Community Studies
  • Linda Tubach, LAUSD Collective Bargaining Education Project
  • Dr. Angela Vergara, CSULA History
  • Dr. Devra Weber, UCR History
  • Goetz Wolff,  UCLA Urban Planning