Welcome!  As you scroll down, here is some basic information about The Partnership for Worker Education:

Also, please take a look at our program video below.  Coming soon: a video that focuses in on one of our workplace English courses.  Our menu at the left offers more information about us as well.


Our Mission

Our mission is to provide high-quality worker education to a wide range of employees - service maintenance, food service, clerical and professional - through the development of stakeholder partnerships. 


Who We Are

We are an innovative educational partnership among the University of Massachusetts, AFSCME Local 1776, the University Staff  Association, and the Professional Staff Union.



On campus, across the Commonwealth, and nationwide, we develop partnerships with employers and unions that address the changing workplace: new skills for employees, as well as employee advancement, engagement, retention, and morale.                                         

We conduct  workforce needs assessments

We offer coursework in:

  • workplace English
  • workplace Spanish
  • workplace computers
  • best multicultural practices at the workplace
  • leadership
  • communication
  • workplace writing
  • workplace wellness
  • workplace respect
  • anti-bullying, and
  • career skills 
We construct career ladders that connect job skills to job advancement
We celebrate frontline employees through exhibitions of worker art and collective displays of worker voice 
We develop joint labor/management partnerships
We build  bridges across difference

Why We Do What We Do

All of our offerings are directly linked to the workplace and to skills/knowledge needed by the workplace.  We have vetted all of our offerings by our joint Advisory Committee over the years.  Here, in brief detail, are rationales for why our different types of educational offerings.  
We teach...
  • Building Bridges (immigrant voices and worker art classes) for several reasons.  These courses address workforce diversity skills, build bridges across difference, build campus community, and address issues of recognition and visibility for employees who sometimes feel unrecognized and not visible.  Building Bridges offerings are, in part, funded by the Chancellor's Office.
  • Career Growth to help guide employees through currently available career opportunities here on campus.
  • Dignity and Respect because dignity and respect are priorities for the University and for our campus union partners.  Dignity, respect, and the absence of bullying are prerequisites for the development of community here on campus.
  • English for the Workplace because fluency in English links to job performance, campus safety, a sense of belonging, a sense of community, effective workplace communication, and career advancement.
  • Multicultural offerings, such as Workplace Spanish, because increasingly we are becoming a multilingual workforce.  A familiarity with workplace Spanish is an advantage ot any campus employee.
  • Pre-apprenticeship and Apprentice modules because both are essential rungs in any effective career ladder approach, and career ladders correlate to job retention, employee morale, and job performance.
  • Workplace Communication and Leadership because workplace communication and leadership are essential workplace skills.  By leadership, we mean leadership skills applicable to the workplace and to one's own community: grassroots leadership, perhaps leading towards skills that we do not teach per se (supervisory skills or union steward skills). 
  • Workplace Computers because increasingly computers skills are becoming essential at the workplace.  Even for employees who do not regularly use computers at work, a working familiarity with computers is essential for accessing HR online, for job application, and for career advancement.  And, for an increasing number of campus positions, computer fluency correlates to work efficiency.
  • Workplace Wellness because wellness offerings can be associated with healthier employees, employees less stressed, and employees less likely to be absent from work.
  • Workplace Writing because writing is an essential workplace skill.

Our Approach

Our approach is three-fold: we emphasize our core employer and union partnership, we center our activities around frontline workers, and we strive for education that empowers.


  • Workplace issues and concerns
  • Visibility, voice, creative expression       
  • Multicultural emphasis       
  • Worker engagement and ownership

Education for Empowerment     

  • Asset-based approach      
  • Participatory   
  • Reflection and action  
  • Critical thinking


  • Joint, labor & management
  • Common ground, common vision    
  • Co-developed frameworks     
  • Tailored to context


By the Numbers

We are in the habit of tracking numbers, for ourselves, for our participants, for our funders.   Here are numbers related to our scope, to our career ladders projects, to our courses and counseling services, to our engagement of employees, and to voice and visibility activities.


The Scope of What We Do

Competitive funding awards: 190+
Grant and revenue dollars awarded: $9+ million
For every $1 allocated by the campus, we’ve raised an additional: $2+ 
Major projects launched across the state: 40
Employers, unions, and nonprofits engaged in those projects: 160+
Workplace needs assessments conducted: 40+
Employees who have taken our classes: 10,000+
Undergraduates who have tutored in our classes: 150+

Career Ladders

Career ladder programs that we've helped to launch: 5
Our career ladder materials translated into: 5 languages
Average wage increase for our Springfield Works pre-apprentices: 125%
Average hourly pay raise for those learners: $7.03
Job placements for our Springfield/Community Works graduates: 96 (and climbing)
Class hours involved in the Community Works trades and transportation pre-apprenticeship: 240

 Classes and Counseling Services 

Workplace English courses provided: 200+
Next Steps courses provided: 300+
Workplace computer courses provided: 150+
Courses/workshops provided last year: 112
Campus employees counseled in the past twelve months: 24
Individualized computer counseling sessions in the past twelve months: 250 

Employee Engagement

Our Committee meetings to date: 150+
Current employees on our Advisory Committee: 25+
Employees on the Auxiliary Services/WE Steering Committee: 13
Employees on the ResLife/AFSCME/WE Steering Committee: 7
Employees on the Building Bridges Working Group: 20+
AFSCME and USA members who have co-taught in our classes: 9
WE Projects originally proposed by program participants: 4+ 
Employees who participated on the creation of a diversity video for new employees: 8
Employees who helped run the worker radio show on issues of social justice: 15+
Frontline employees who engaged in federal research: 8

Voice & Visibility

Worker writers who’ve read at our public readings: 55+
Worker artists who’ve exhibited in our worker art shows: 110+
Number of worker writer compilations that we’ve published: 8
Number of voice and visibility events that we’ve sponsored: 9
Attendance at our April 2019 Building Bridges Showcase: 750+
Learner-produced videos presented at international conferences: 1
Installments of our worker’s radio show on social justice, Upfront!: 455
Worker-interviewed guests on UpFront!: 1,300+



Carol Kolenik

Director, Bridge to Learning and Literacy Program, Harvard University

The UMass Amherst worker education program is the premier program in the country…

Garett diStefano

Director, UMass Dining Services

LMWE has provided some amazing services, and I wouldn’t even consider them services, I consider them partners. They have worked with us for a number of years now.  They understand our organization.  They understand our people.  We feel as though we are working together to achieve excellence. Their approach is  professional.  They come around and ask a lot of questions and try to get to know you as an organization.  They understand what short- and long-term results are, as well as some of the business challenges. They’re not trying to put a cookie cutter approach to something.  They’re customized to what your organization is, using standard and scientific types of principals to achieve long term results.

Maggie Drouineaud

Compliance Analyst, UMass Building Authority

Three years ago, I met the staff at Community Works to learn about their program and learn how UMass Building Authority could assist them with the great they are doing in attracting minorities and females in the construction trades. Community Works is really focused on hiring residents in Springfield and Holyoke who would like to pursue a career in construction. Staff there are very passionate about the work and they also work in collaboration with the local unions, contractors and community organizations to provide a high level of apprenticeship and education to the underrepresented populations in the trade. They are amazing folks.  Good job you guys, keep up the good work.