Student Union Building with Person

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 in 2006 and established the Institute to work with faculty to prepare students for this new economy. DHLI officially launched in 2007.


The Dolores Huerta Labor Institute (DHLI) works with LACCD faculty to educate LACCD students about labor history, the current labor movement, the impact of unions, and workers' issues to promote critical thinking, enhance career prospects, and encourage 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. Today, it is ever important that we prepare students to understand the evolving nature of work and how workers, communities, and the Labor Movement respond to new challenges ushered in by the modern economy. DHLI is the first institute of its kind created to educate community college students about labor issues and history. We do this by working with LACCD faculty from all nine district colleges and providing them professional development, resources, and support to help them to be able to teach on these issues. As a result, many of the students attending the nine campuses of LACCD have opportunities 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. Through our work with faculty, LACCD students will leave the LACCD colleges informed and better prepared to engage in their future as workers and professionals.

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. Since the 1970s, globalization, technological changes, and shifting markets have transformed the U.S. economy: the disaggregation of firms and rise of network supply models resulted in the reliance on subcontracting arrangements. Meanwhile, deregulation has led to growth in contingent and precarious employment in both blue collar and professional sectors. As work is intimately related to a host of social, economic, and political issues, inequality and instability on the job effects workers and have widespread implications to our society as a whole. In order to tackle the challenges of the workplace and beyond, community college students need the educational resources necessary to tackle the changing world of work. DHLI helps faculty prepare students for 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 (LATTC) 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.

  • 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