People at ILR

Lou Jean Fleron
people / faculty

Lou Jean Fleron

Senior Political Economy Consultant
Workforce Industry and Economic Development


Lou Jean Fleron is former director of Cornell University ILR Buffalo Co-Lab, a collaborative research, teaching, and public knowledge center for progressive economic development in Greater Buffalo. Co-Lab initiatives include student-engaged learning through High Road Fellowships and Careers in Public Service; the interactive digital library, researchers network, and workshops of Buffalo Commons; the technical and analytical economic geography resource of Data for Equitable Economic Development and Sustainability (Good DEEDS for Greater Buffalo); and the visiting activist scholar exchange between Buffalo and the campus in Ithaca.

Lou Jean is also co-founder and current board chair of Partnership for the Public Good, a community-based think-tank with over 290 affiliated partners that works closely with Buffalo Co-Lab to give the nonprofit community and citizens a stronger voice in public policy. She was the first chair of the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission.

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 Cornell ILR extension faculty member since 1976, now emerita, Lou Jean formerly served ILR as statewide director of workforce, industry and economic development, founder and director of the Institute for Industry Studies, director of the Western Region, and director of labor programs. Lou Jean’s teaching and research fields are economic development, labor management relations, and public economic policy. Prior to joining the Cornell ILR faculty, she taught political science and political philosophy at the University at Buffalo and the University of Kentucky.

Outreach Statement

Lou Jean lives in Buffalo with her husband, Jack Williams, surrounded by a large family now including thirteen great grandchildren, making their commitment to a bright future for WNY 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.

Professional Activities

  • Canalside Community Alliance’s Campaign for High Road Economic Development – Buffalo. Presented to International Labor and Employment Relations Association. Toronto - virtual meeting. 2020.
  • Canalside Community Alliance (CSCA) in Buffalo: High Road Economic Development for Living Wage Jobs. Presented to CRIMT - Centre de Recherche Interuniversitaire sur la Mondialisation et le Travail . Magog, Quebec. 2019.


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