Jake Barnes

Research Project: Young Workers and the Labor Movement

Jake Barnes is a senior in the Cornell University ILR School from Syracuse, NY, with minors in business and inequality studies. Last summer, Jake was a fellow in the ILR School High Road Fellowship program in Buffalo, NY, completing research on education inequality within Western New York public schools, among other policy-oriented topics. At Cornell, Jake is a policy analyst in the Roosevelt Institute's Center for Economic Policy & Development and member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. His academic interests revolve greatly around the topic of human rights, including workers' rights, inequality, and social stratification. Jake also holds a passion for community service and fundraising. In high school, Jake was the head of public relations and member of the executive committee for the Fayetteville Memory Garden Project, a $160,000 initiative to build a public space of reflection for those whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Summer/Fall 2014

Year: ILR '15

Cornell Activities/Groups/Affiliations/Leadership Roles:

  • Member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Policy Analyst for the Roosevelt Institute's Center for Economic Policy and Development
  • Worker Institute Fellow, Fall 2014
  • Member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity

Research: Young Workers and the Labor Movement

Describe your research project. This summer, I'm working with Professor Lowell Turner and others around the globe on a quickly developing research project to identify and examine the inclusion of young workers in processes of worker interest representation. As trade unions and works councils continue to decrease in size and influence, the project seeks to use in-depth qualitative analysis of best-practice cases in each of five countries--Germany, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States--to specify the conditions giving rise to successful outcomes in young worker involvement in collective workplace representation. The goal of the project is to produce reports, articles, and a published book volume to offer lessons for mutual learning and strategy development by trade unions, works councils, and the like.

What have you gotten out of the experience so far? My time as a summer fellow for the Worker Institute has given me both invaluable research experience in the social sciences and involvement in the labor movement. As an aspiring professor and researcher within the social sciences, working on this project has left me with knowledge in labor relations, political science, sociology, and more that I will likely use throughout both my academic and professional careers.

What kind of student might be interested in a research fellowship at the Worker Institute? An ideal candidate for a research fellowship with the Worker Institute is someone who is considering a career involving research in the social sciences. While the fellowship involves a great deal of autonomy at times, the fellow is ultimately a team member who must work with others often to complete certain tasks. Thus, an ideal candidate should be able to thrive in both independent and group work. Most importantly, an ideal candidate should have a passion for labor, social justice, and the advancement of workers' rights and workplace democracy.