Who We Are

One of Empire State University's founding programs, the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies (HVASLS) serves approximately 1,700 students through partnerships with labor unions in the New York City metro area. Our labor-centered, liberal arts program was inspired by Harry Van Arsdale Jr. He was the leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 3, and the New York Central Labor Council. 

Van Arsdale believed that the ability to think and write critically about issues facing workers was essential to having a strong voice on the job, and more generally, in a modern democratic society. The School of Labor Studies ensures that trade unionists and other workers acquire the skills and knowledge required to be leaders at work sites, in their communities, their unions, or worker centers.

In pursuit of this mission, highly qualified faculty with a demonstrated interest in labor and working-class studies deliver worker/union programs that help working adults acquire the analytical and communication skills that are the hallmark of a liberal arts education. A committed professional and support staff provides students with a range of academic and administrative services. 

The School of Labor Studies offers associate and bachelor's degrees in labor studies. 

We hold classes at our main location 4 Park Avenue in Manhattan. We also offer online courses for students whose schedules demand more flexibility.