I could give a laundry list of reasons why it is a mistake for the University of Missouri-Kansas City to close the Institute for Labor Studies (6/20, Local, “UMKC cancels Institute for Labor Studies”).
Looking beyond the autocratic process and the questionable fiscal justifications, how will closing the institute affect work-force development strategies in the Kansas City area?
The seldom defined term “work-force development” is code for the kinds of jobs American workers will have in the new economy and how we will be trained for those jobs.
The role of the labor centers around the country is to ensure that the agenda of business for a surplus of trained and ready workers is balanced with a working people’s agenda for an engaged citizenry working in jobs that support healthy communities.
This is the role that the institute plays when it provides leadership training and policy analysis to workers and community leaders.
UMKC should reconsider.
Susan Moir, director
Labor Resource Center
University of Massachusetts