Charlie Clausner '13
"I saw a flyer for the International Programs grant and thought that this experience would provide me with a global aspect of the workplace. I worked tirelessly on the application. When I got the grant, I literally ran around my dorm room, I was so excited."
Before Charlie came to Cornell, he didn't really know what Human Resources or Labor Relations was about. Through introductory courses and his internships, he now has a better understanding of these fields and has experienced real-world workplace and labor issues in the public and private sector.
Experiencing the workplace
During the first summer of my internship at the Coal Mine, I worked in HR and assisted with hiring, benefit reviews and workers compensation claims. The second summer I worked in labor relations and was involved in grievance issues. I also became involved in arbitrations and worked with mining engineers. This past summer I worked almost entirely with the mining engineers. This experience was more mathematical, I worked with autoCAD underground and conducted elevation surveys.
When I worked with the Fraternal Order of Police, I sat in on labor negotiations, team unit discussions, disciplinary cases, arbitration, did research for labor lawyers and worked on comparing benefits among units in terms of wages, incentives and time off. During this summer I saw happening in the workplace what I had learned in my Collective Bargaining class with Dean Katz, which was really cool.
Playing basketball in Cambodia
I saw a flyer for the International Programs grant and thought that this experience would provide me with a global aspect of the workplace. I worked tirelessly on the application. When I got the grant, I literally ran around my dorm room, I was so excited. I traveled to Cambodia where I taught English in a secondary school for 6th-12th graders. It was fulfilling for me to teach kids English and give them first-hand experience with someone from the Western world. I wanted to show them that through education and through learning a new language, you can improve your own life. Hopefully the kids will get an education and go to a university and then maybe go into tourism or another field that will be profitable and sustainable. In Cambodia, a lot of jobs are tied to the tourism industry, so those were the people that spoke English. When you can speak English it helps you make money and improves your standard of living.
Once I got the grant, I emailed my basketball coach from high school and asked for a donation of basketballs. Along with teaching English, I set up a youth basketball camp. These kids work in the rice paddy fields for hours on end and then barely make it to school. The kids really loved learning to play basketball and have some fun in their day.
This year, I applied for the exchange program with the University of South Wales, where I will spend a semester studying labor relations in another part of the world. I know that there is a large variation between countries and their labor movements and I look forward to taking the courses offered there.
There are a lot of people invested in you here at ILR. They want to see you succeed and they will do whatever they can to make that happen. It is very important to have the resources we receive, to be able to go into the Office of Career Services or Student Services or study in Catherwood Library or speak to your professor whose office is just down the hallway. The intimacy of relationships in ILR are geared towards our success.