Who We Are

One of SUNY Empire State College's founding programs, the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies (HVASLS) serves approximately 1,700 students through partnerships with labor unions in the New York City metro area. Our labor-centered, liberal arts program was inspired by Harry Van Arsdale Jr. He was the leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 3, and the New York Central Labor Council. 

Van Arsdale believed that the ability to think critically and read and write at the college level are essential skills for citizens in a modern democratic society, especially trade unionists. The School of Labor ensures that trade unionists acquire the skills and knowledge required to be leaders at work sites, in their communities, and in their unions.

In pursuit of this mission, highly qualified faculty with a demonstrated interest in labor and working-class studies deliver programs that help working adults acquire the analytical and communication skills that are the hallmark of a liberal arts education. A committed professional and support staff provides students with a range of academic and administrative services. 

The School of Labor offers associate and bachelor degrees in labor studies. 

We offer convenient evening classes for working adults at our 4 Park Avenue location, and at satellite locations and union halls around the city.

Our program emphasizes collective learning, student-faculty interaction, and classroom discussion. You'll learn to think, read, and write at the college level, with instructors serving as “learning coaches.”