Alison Dickson

Alison Dickson

Chicagoland Workforce Leadership Academy, Class of 2019, Economic Opportunities Program

Instructor and Researcher, Labor Education Program, University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations, Chicago, Illinois

Alison Dickson joined the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations in January 2011 and works as an Instructor and Researcher in the Labor Education Program (LEP), a state wide educational and research program with offices in both Champaign and Chicago. Through extension programming and non-credit classes, LEP educates over 3,000 workers statewide on an annual basis. LEP faculty and staff also organize conferences and seminars related to current issues facing workers as well as produce applied and academic research products focused on unions and unionized workers, changes in the economy and labor markets, and the low-wage workforce. Dickson directs and teaches for the Worker Rights Project, a LEP initiative that provides bilingual (Spanish-English) workers’ rights training for immigrant and other low-wage workers. In addition to her teaching, she conducts applied and scholarly research that focuses on workers, workplaces, and economic devolvement.

Prior to joining LEP, Dickson worked at the UIC Center for Urban Economic Development (CUED) where she contributed to the landmark 2008 study of low-wage workers, industries and occupations in America’s three largest cities. Before her time at CUED, she worked for a number of years as a community and labor organizer in Ohio and Los Angeles.

Dickson received her master’s degree in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Economic Development from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has also spent time studying and living in Nicaragua and Cuba.

Alison Dickson is a member of the Chicagoland Workforce Leadership Academy, Class of 2019, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at