The Center for Working-Class Studies was created in 1995. After sponsoring two conferences, one on the 1930s and the first conference on working-class studies, a team of YSU faculty were awarded a grant from the American Association of Colleges and Universities to explore strategies for enhancing attention to class as part of the rise of multiculturalism on campuses. The Center's early projects included biannual conferences, a bibliography of books about the working class, a website of resources, offering labor-themed college courses "on turns" at a local steelworkers union hall, an annual lecture series, a newsletter, and summer institutes for K-12 teachers. The CWCS Archives, housed in YSU's Maag Library, includes the proceedings from three of our conferences, newsletters dating back to 2004, and the working-class studies bibliography, created between 1995 and 2000.
In 2000, we received the first of two grants from the Ford Foundation, and a significant portion of those funds supported our efforts to build the interdisciplinary academic field of New Working-Class Studies. Along with continuing to organize conferences, we spearheaded the creation of the Working-Class Studies Association and edited a book, New Working-Class Studies, published by Cornell University Press. We also created workshops and a digital archive focused on the working-class history and culture of the Mahoning Valley.
In recent years, we have developed a partnership with YSU's Journalism program, focusing on preparing young reporters to cover working-class stories well. We have also developed exhibits and archival collections on the local community, as well as additional online resources and community projects.