Tag Archives: activist training

Social Movements Classes as Sites for Organizer Training

By Brian K. Obach

An alternative approach to teaching social movements classes is to do so in a way that imparts practical skills designed to prepare students for careers in organizing.  While higher education institutions offer training and professional development for a wide range of careers, this important career trajectory is almost completely neglected.  The dearth of higher education offerings in this area is so great that labor unions and private non-profit centers have had to develop their own training and education programs to meet their own demand.  With some modification, most social movements classes could be designed to develop that skill set and to better prepare students for careers as professional organizers.

There are thousands of non-profit community organizations and labor unions throughout the United States that employ social movement organizers.  A visit to a web-based employment clearinghouse for non-profit organizations yielded a list of over 600 jobs available under the designation “activism.”  Continue reading

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Pedagogy of Social Movements

Occupation Training

I recently attended my first ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organization and Voluntary Action) conference and, not surprisingly, encountered a good deal of discussion about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Elements of OWS were brought up as examples during research presentations (mine included), panel discussions, and roundtable sessions and a variety of “brainstorms in progress” were producing plans for researching the movement (check out Hector Cordero-Guzman’s initial draft report about users of the OWS website for an early installment on the research front).ARNOVA Conference 2011

Beyond the more formal academic thinking and discussion, there was also a substantial amount of speculation afoot about where the movement is heading and how it would respond to various internal struggles and external challenges. Everyone had a hypothesis about what would happen next. For an organization with official sections devoted to Community and Grassroots Association and “Pracademics,” it occurred to me that given the right opportunity, some of the conference participants could potentially have a say in that process. Continue reading

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Filed under Daily Disruption