UCLA Labor Center partners with California Labor Commissioner’s Office to strengthen state career pathways for students

By Andrew Rock, Jessica HyunJeong Lee, and Janna Shadduck-Hernández | April 18, 2023

The UCLA Labor Center has launched an initiative to demystify the state of California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)’s application process, with the goal of providing undergraduate and graduate students with stronger pathways to a career in state labor agencies.

The DIR frequently offers job openings for positions that support the department’s mission of improving working conditions for California’s workers. At UCLA, many students share the agency’s mission but may not know about its work, or may be deterred by the state’s complex application process.

To kickstart this effort, on March 7, the UCLA Labor Studies Undergraduate Program and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, with co-sponsorship from the UCLA Latin American Institute, hosted California State Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower for an information session on career opportunities and pathways within the Labor Commissioner’s Office (LCO). Her talk introduced students to the mission, values, and approach of her office and Division of Apprenticeship Standards; the benefits provided to state employees; and the application process for state employment. After the talk, approximately 45 undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni had the opportunity to network with LCO and DIR staff members.

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“Overall I think the programming was fantastic,” said Sherrod Session, a current labor studies major. “I know there are a lot of Labor Studies Majors who are unsure about what kinds of jobs will be available after they graduate. That being said, I think that knowing that there are so many job opportunities within the public domain that have great benefits makes people more inclined to study labor relations. In addition to the benefits, the jobs showcased seemed highly rewarding on the social justice front and showed a strong correlation to improving the organized labor presence within California. As an aspiring labor lawyer, I hope to be involved in a space such as the LCO so that organized labor has a strong backing from the state.”

Jasmin Rivera, a recent UCLA graduate, also attended the talk. “It was so nice being back on UCLA’s campus to learn more about the jobs at the Labor Commissioner’s Office and the exciting initiatives and projects they are offering,” she said. “I left the conversation with so much information, and I plan to attend the spring workshops that the Labor Studies program will be hosting.”

This spring, the UCLA Labor Center will lead a series of workshops to provide students with resources for preparing DIR employment applications. The workshops will break down the application process, teach best practices for applications for state employment, and provide a venue for undergraduate and graduate students to ask questions about the process and start working on their applications.

Spring 2023 quarter workshops will be held at the Chicano Studies Research Library in Haines Hall 144 on: 

Thursday, April 26 from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and 

Thursday, May 25 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

To RSVP, click here.

Andrew Rock is a graduate student researcher at UCLA.

Jessica HyunJeong Lee is a graduate student researcher at UCLA.

Janna Shadduck-Hernández is a project director at the UCLA Labor Center.