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