Penn State hosts regional leadership development program for labor leaders

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The School of Labor and Employment Relations and the Labor School at Penn State hosted a weeklong session June 25-29 for the Mid-Atlantic Labor Leadership Initiative (MALLI).

The regional leadership development program is the newest arm of the National Labor Leadership Initiative and is designed to bring labor leaders and allied organizational leaders together who have significant leadership responsibilities in their respective organizations. The yearlong program was created by the national AFL-CIO with the support of the AFL-CIO federations. The MALLI curriculum is a joint effort of labor programs at Penn State, Cornell University, Rutgers University, and West Virginia University.

The program encompasses three separate weeks of on-campus activities, with the first week hosted by Penn State. The second week will take place Sept. 24-28 at Rutgers, and the third session will be held Dec. 3-7 at West Virginia.

“This week is focused on their personal skills as a leader,” said Mary Bellman, director of the Labor School and assistant teaching professor of labor and employment relations. “The second week is about leading change within organizations, and the third week is about how we work together in a movement. The end goal is that attendees are more skilled in all three of those areas.”

Bellman added that another objective of the program is for attendees to develop relationships with those from other organizations. Bellman said she hopes that participants will see one another as resources and points of contact outside of their workplace.

Throughout the week, attendees participated in hands-on workshops that helped them to develop personally as leaders. The activities allowed participants to learn about their individual leadership styles and how to best communicate as a leader within their organization.

“This is a very worthwhile program,” said Mike Spiller from the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 2. “We can no longer as unions work on contract language and getting the best benefits, we have to be more holistic and look at the complete person and the issues and needs they have. Before we even go and talk to our people, we have to have a good relationship with our fellow leaders, and this program here has had some really good open conversations.”

Last Updated July 03, 2018