Frequently Asked Questions

What is your educational philosophy?

Like the original Brookwood, New Brookwood Labor College is non-accredited and offers no grades or diplomas. We exist to serve students who are interested in building a radical and inclusive labor movement. Curriculum is rigorous, expectations are high, and work produced in the College will advance both the immediate needs and long-term goals of the labor movement.

Are you accredited? Will I earn a degree?

Like the original Brookwood, New Brookwood Labor College is non-accredited and offers neither grades nor diplomas. 

We consider this a strength because we have the freedom to determine how to enroll students, who can apply and be accepted, what classes we teach, and how we engage our community.

One significant departure from traditional education models is that we do not "graduate" students–once you join New Brookwood, you will always be welcome. Students who have completed the core classes may continue to take new classes as they are offered or participate in advancing New Brookwood in other ways (some of which we know and some of which we anticipate our community will develop).

Is this a training program?

No. New Brookwood Labor College draws on the traditions of liberal arts education and exists to engage students in deep thought and discussion about the labor movement and the working class. We anticipate offering some classes that will engage students in specific organizing, bargaining, and enforcement tactics, and that organizing tactics will be present in our work but this is not our primary purpose. 

We have relationships with institutions that offer excellent training opportunities and we are happy to offer referrals–drop us an email at

Is this popular education?

There are many models of popular education, and while we see New Brookwood more as liberal arts education for the working class, it certainly draws inspiration from some of the core tenets of popular education. In particular, we see education as inherently political, we believe that students and teachers are co-learners, and we seek to understand context–to connect the personal to the systematic and to understand history as part of where we are now and where we hope to go.

Am I the right kind of person for New Brookwood?

We are looking for people who are passionate and committed–who believe that another world is possible and want to work to create it. We are more interested in your beliefs, values, and interest in engaging in deep thought and debate than we are in your previous academic achievements.

What are the application requirements?

New Brookwood Labor College curriculum is rigorous and we have high expectations for student engagement, but we are more interested in your passion and commitment than your previous academic achievements. Anyone wishing to enroll at New Brookwood must submit an application plus one letter of recommendation from a bonafide labor union and one letter of recommendation from someone else who can speak to their commitment to the movement. We believe that an inclusive labor movement is one that is accessible to everyone, so to the best of our ability we will work to meet our students' needs for success. Please reach out if you have specific questions.

What are the admission criteria?

New Brookwood Labor College seeks to enroll 30-50 new students every year. We are looking for students who are passionate and committed–who know that another world is possible and want to work to create it. Understanding and imagining a world that works for all people requires representation from diverse perspectives, so in addition to looking for passion, want to know about you. Application questions that seek to understand your identity, background, politics, and experiences help us to form cohorts that bring together a rich mix of perspectives.

What courses do you offer?

The core curriculum at New Brookwood Labor College includes four classes: 

- People's Leadership
- Working Class History
- Economics as if Workers Mattered
- Organizing & Campaign Strategies

What classes should I sign up for?

Classes can be taken individually, but we recommend that students take People's Leadership and Working Class History together, then Campaign and Organizing Strategies and Economics as if Workers Mattered together. These classes have curriculum that support one another. 

Who are the instructors?

Classes at New Brookwood Labor College are typically co-taught by an academic and a labor leader. 

Is this a project of a specific labor union?

Absolutely not. New Brookwood Labor College was founded by a working group of labor leaders (from a number of unions and trades), social justice organizers, and academics. We are necessarily independent of any particular union or trade.

Do I have to be a union member to apply?

No, in fact we strive to have representatives in each cohort from unionized and non-unionized worksites as well as from social justice and community organizations. That being said, we strongly encourage everyone in our community to join as a dues paying member of a union, even if they do not represent your job. Some unions offer community membership programs that anyone can join–reach out to us if you would like help finding one–

When are classes offered?

The upcoming class schedule  can be found here on the website–from the top menu choose Students, then Classes. 

How much is tuition?

New Brookwood is sponsored by labor unions. We ask that unions sponsor students with a contribution of $500 per class. Some unions choose to donate to make a general donation to New Brookwood rather than sponsoring a particular student. We know that each union has different ways of allocating funds and are happy to work with you! Individual students who are not sponsored by a union will receive a scholarship to cover tuition, and are encouraged to donate to New Brookwood to help other students attend. 

I need additional academic or logistical support–can you help?

We welcome students who represent myriad identities and believe that an inclusive labor movement is one that is accessible. Some things we can commit to doing always, for example, holding classes in spaces that are wheelchair accessible, having gender neutral restrooms, and providing great writing and technology support. Other things we are happy to accommodate upon request (and institutionalize if they are enough needed), for example, offering childcare, adjusting class times, and offering tuition scholarships and support for transportation and food.