Strategic Corporate Research Summer School

Summer School participants in front of Taughannock Falls waterfall

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), we will be canceling the Strategic Corporate Research Summer School for 2020. We made this decision after Cornell University closed down on-campus instruction effective April 6, 2020. We look forward to offering the program in 2021 and hope to hear from you then.


2021 Strategic Corporate Research Summer School

Sponsored by Cornell ILR and the AFL-CIO

When: June 2021

Where: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Course Overview

This course is for students who work or want to work in social-change organizations that strive to make and keep corporations accountable, including primarily labor unions but also workers’ centers, environmental justice groups, and community-based organizations. It prepares students to engage corporations by teaching them, through hands-on techniques, how to research corporate ownership, finance, organization, and power. By the end of the course, participants will be prepared to begin and advance in careers in strategic research and strategic campaigns from having understood and researched corporate ownership structure, corporate finance, and the sources of corporate power. Learn more about the course.

Regular and Advanced Tracks

The course offers two tracks - regular and advanced. The advanced track includes an additional research and writing assignment. Given the limited time available while students are here on campus, both regular and advanced students will be sent books and a course pack several weeks before the course takes place, in order to give them an opportunity to complete all the reading before they arrive. In addition to reading assignments, there will be short written exercises and class presentations completed while the course is in session. Students taking the advanced track are required to conduct independent research and write a paper of twenty-five to thirty pages, summarizing comprehensive corporate research and analysis for a designated company. The final paper will be due six weeks after the course ends. Any advanced-track students currently enrolled in a college or university who are interested in gaining credit for the course can work with the director to help set up independent study credit with their school.

Students interested in pursuing strategic corporate research positions within unions are encouraged to take the advanced track so they will have the additional experience of researching an actual corporation and have a completed strategic research report to show prospective union employers; but only if they can commit the time to complete the paper.

Job Placement Assistance

Program instructors are committed to assisting successful graduates of the program find strategic corporate research positions within the labor movement. In the first twenty years of the program, more than 800 students have been placed in top research positions in the AFL-CIO, CTW, UNITE HERE, SEIU, USW, LIUNA, IBT, UFW, UFCW, AFT, AFSCME, ATU, NNU, NYSNA SAG AFTRA, and in other unions across the United States and around the world. The majority of those placed in research positions have taken the advanced track.