MADISON, WI--The School for Workers, the labor education department at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, elected Michael Childers as its new director.
“Michael brings tremendous energy and vision to the position,” says Corliss Olson, outgoing department Director. “Since joining the School for Workers faculty, Michael has been sought out by labor leaders across the country for his knowledge and insight. Michael’s passion for economic and social justice fuels his work and encompasses community outreach as well as more traditional areas of labor education. In addition, Michael’s expertise in industrial engineering allows the School to continue to offer assistance to unions and companies grappling with complex production and compensation problems.”
Childers has been with School for Workers for more than seven years, joining the faculty after completing his advanced degrees and a postdoctoral appointment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He also has a degree in industrial engineering and diverse management and engineering experience in a wide variety of industries, including basic steel, machining, metal fabrication and plastic molding.
“It’s both exciting and humbling to become director in this historic time in Wisconsin history,” Childers said. “Regardless of the ebbs and flows of electoral politics, our faculty looks forward to continuing to serve the people of Wisconsin. The School for Workers' core mission remains timeless – to empower workers to create fairness and democracy in their work life.”
Childers’ unique expertise and experience makes him ideally suited to instruct on topics such as time study, warehouse production standards, lean production, job evaluation and alternative work/pay systems. Michael assists unions to be more effective by engaging members and utilizing technology, including teaching basic computer proficiency, leadership skills, internet research tools, and how to effectively use new media. He also is active in the community, currently serving as a Co-Chair of the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin.
The School for Workers recently received the 2012 “Outstanding Contribution to Labor Education” award. This award is the highest recognition from the United Association for Labor Education (UALE), the leading professional association for labor educators in the United States and Canada.
Founded in 1925, the School for Workers is the oldest university-based labor education program in the United States. One of the first operational components of the "Wisconsin Idea," the School has long brought teaching, research, and outreach to thousands of workers, unions and employers throughout Wisconsin, the nation, and the world. Today the School for Workers continues to provide lifelong adult learning opportunities for working people, labor organizations, and businesses.