Cornell University

Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution

456 ILR Research Building, 607-255-9298

Labor Arbitrator Development Certificate Program

Unions and employers agree that there is a looming shortage of qualified labor arbitrators. Today, many of the nation's premier arbitrators are completing, or close to completing, their labor arbitration careers. This comes at a time when the nation's workforce is more diversified than ever and employers and unions alike are confronting new challenges in their relationships, generated in large part by an increasingly volatile global economy.

To meet tomorrow's needs to resolve labor-management grievances through the arbitration process, the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at Cornell ILR has created a unique new program. Cornell ILR faculty members and arbitration experts throughout the nation add their talents, expertise and experience to this program to help develop the process skills and substantive knowledge of the select students who are admitted.

Designed for attorneys, union leaders, human resource professionals and others who have distinguished themselves in labor-management relations and who seek to transition into the practice of labor arbitration, this program will develop and hone the skills that are critical to the success of this transition. Unlike other programs designed for individuals who no longer work as advocates, this program allows and anticipates students to remain in current employment while contemplating and or transitioning to a neutral career.

In addition to the process and substantive knowledge segments, the program will devote considerable time to teaching students how to build a successful practice by building a personalized strategic business plan.

The program is divided into four modules.

Module 1 focuses on the fundamentals of labor arbitration.  Six courses are required, including a five-day introduction to labor arbitration and five two-day courses on ethics, evidence, award writing, practice development and advanced issues.

Module 2 consists of a series of foundational courses including collective bargaining, labor and employment law, contract interpretation, public, private and federal sector issues, human resources and labor relations. For students with extensive backgrounds in the foundational areas of the program, some or all of these courses may be waived at the discretion of the Scheinman Institute. 

Module 3 consists of elective courses including mediation, conflict management system design, facilitation, public sector mediation, fact-finding and negotiations.

Modules 4 provides participants with an in-depth field experience. Students gain experience observing hearings conducted by the nation's best arbitrators. Students write draft awards and will receive personal feedback from the program's participating arbitrators.  During this module, students will develop their ADR business plan while working on their goal of establishing a labor arbitration practice.


Applications must be submitted to Traci Morse, ADR Program Manager. Traci can be contacted at or by phone at 607-255-9298 for application deadline information. You can also request an application be mailed to you.


Tuition fees vary depending on the number of courses a student is required to take.  For students with extensive backgrounds in the foundational areas of the program, some or all of these courses may be waived at the discretion of the Scheinman Institute. Once accepted, students are each assigned a mentor from the Scheinman Institute faculty who works with them to design an individualized program of study.

Depending on the number of courses required, the total cost for all four modules will ranges from $12,750 to $27,500. Tuition will be paid on a per course basis and is payable prior to the student's attendance in each course.  We estimate the program will require 18-24 months to complete.

Tuition includes course materials, meals and refreshment breaks.  Course tuition and dates are subject to change without prior notice. Travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the student.

A limited number of scholarships will be available. Please request an application for need-based financial aid from the Scheinman Institute and submit with admission application.

Application Form

Program Brochure

Modules - Courses

For additional information:

Traci Morse, ADR Program Manager
Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution
Cornell University
4th Floor
ILR Research Building
Ithaca, New York 14853
Phone: 607-255-9298