People at ILR

people / faculty

Lou Jean Fleron

Director of Buffalo Co-Lab
Workforce Industry and Economic Development


Lou Jean Fleron is an Emeritus Extension Faculty of Cornell University ILR, directing a service learning and action research program that provides opportunities for students to work on community-based economic development in Western New York. Paid by Cornell ILR, these High Road Fellowships offer firsthand experience for ILR students placed with local organizations affiliated with the Partnership for the Public Good.

Lou Jean also co-directs the Partnership for the Public Good, a civic organization working to build a more just, sustainable and culturally vibrant Greater Buffalo through action-oriented research, policy development and citizen engagement. With over 114 affiliated partners, PPG develops an annual Community Agenda of ten policy planks, hosts monthly forums and a weekly radio show, and produces publications and other resources to give the nonprofit community and citizens a stronger voice in public policy.

Lou Jean was formerly statewide director of workforce, industry and economic development for Cornell ILR. She previously served as founder and director of Cornell ILR's Institute for Industry Studies, director of the Western Region, and director of labor programs.

Teaching Statement

Prior to her work with Cornell University, Lou Jean taught political science and political philosophy for fifteen years at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Kentucky. Born in western Kansas, she attended public school there, receiving her A.B. in political science and economics from Fort Hays Kansas State and her M.A. in government from Indiana University.

Research Statement

A member of the Cornell faculty since 1977, Lou Jean's teaching and research fields are economic development, public economic policy, and labor management relations. She is the author of numerous articles and studies on regional economic development, including Champions @ Work: Employment, Workplace Practices and Labor-Management Relations in Western New York; Buffalo Child Care Means Business; and Labor and Regional Development in the U.S. A.: Building a High Road Infrastructure. She served as Chair of the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission from its founding in 2003 to 2010.

Outreach Statement

A resident of Buffalo since 1970, Lou Jean is involved in many civic, community and professional activities. With six of her eight grandchildren and two of five great-grandchildren growing up in Greater Buffalo, her commitment to a bright future for Upstate New York is both personal and professional.


Journal Articles

  • Lou Jean Fleron, Ian Greer. 2005. Labor and Regional Development in the U.S.A.: Building a High Road Infrastructure in Buffalo, New York, International Journal of Action Research . 1(2):219-242.
  • Lou Jean Fleron, Ronald Applegate. 2004. Building a Two-Lane High Road: Unions and Economic Development in Western New York, Perspectives on Work . 8(1):10-12.


  • Lou Jean Fleron, Lauren Breen, Danielle Dimitrov, Regina L Grogan. 2006. Buffalo Child Care Means Business. Ithaca NY, United States: Cornell University ILR, 2006.
  • Lou Jean Fleron, Howard Stanger, Eileen Patton. 2000. Champions @ Work: Employment, Workplace Practices and Labor-Management Relations in Western New York. Ithaca NY, United States: Cornell University ILR, 2000.
  • Lou Jean Fleron. 1996. Reflections on Progress at Work: Fifty Years of ILR Outreach. Ithaca NY, United States: Cornell University ILR, 1996.

Book Chapters

  • Ian Greer, Barbara Byrd, Lou Jean Fleron. 2007. Two Paths to the High Road: The Dynamics of Coalition Building in Seattle and Buffalo. in Labor in the New Urban Battlegrounds: Local Solidarity in a Global Economy. Ithaca NY, United States: Cornell University ILR, 2007. Lowell Turner, Daniel Cornfield.


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