Labor Program Office

Goals and Purposes


Learning, Service, and Work Well Done

The Labor Program, through the leadership of the Dean of Labor, the Labor Program Council, and countless supervisors and mentors, reflects a unified vision of labor as student and learning centered, as service to the College and broader community, and as necessary work well done.

The Labor Program is designed to serve the following purposes:

  • Support the total educational program at Berea College through experiences providing the learning of skills, responsibility, habits, attitudes, and processes associated with work;
  • Provide and encourage opportunities for students to pay costs of board, room, and related educational expenses;
  • Provide staff for college operations;
  • Provide opportunities for service to the community and others through labor;
  • Establish a life-style of doing and thinking, action and reflection, service and learning that carries on beyond the college years.

Labor assignments function very much like classes. Beginning at basic levels of work, students are expected to progress to more skilled and responsible levels. Through these experiences, it is expected that student workers will 1) develop good work habits and attitudes, 2) gain an understanding of personal interests, skills and limitations, and 3) exercise creativity, problem-solving and responsibility.  Students may also learn the qualities of leadership, standard setting, and effective supervision.

The Labor Program makes it possible for students to know each other as co-workers as well as classmates.  More importantly, linking the Academic and Labor Programs establishes a pattern of learning through work that continues long after college is completed.

Financial Aid

In 2006-2007, 21% of graduates left Berea College with no educational debt.

The Labor Program provides financial support for students in the form of a labor grant and an hourly rate of pay.  The labor grant is awarded equally to every student regardless of need, and covers a portion of the Cost of Education (commonly known elsewhere as tuition).  The 2008-2009 labor grant award is $4,000.

In addition to the labor grant, students also receive an hourly rate of pay.  This rate, currently ranging from $3.80 to $6.25 for work performed during the academic year, is paid directly to the student every 3-4 weeks and not subject to taxes or withholding.  Estimated earnings through the Labor Program are factored into the financial aid award notification and used to assist with term bill payment and personal expenses.

During the summer months, students may choose to enroll in Summer School and work as usual in the Labor Program, or they may choose to work in a classification called Labor Only.  Labor Only status enables students to work up to 40 hours per week at a higher rate (currently $7.00 per hour) that is subject to taxes and withholding.  Students are expected to save at least $1,000 from their summer earnings to contribute to their educational expenses for the upcoming school year, whether it is through a campus job or through off-campus employment.

Workplace Expectations

The Workplace Expectations were adopted by the Administrative Committee in 1998 as a means of articulating common expectations for work and learning at Berea College.  Faculty, staff and students comprise one workforce at Berea, and all are charged with upholding these guiding principles:

Exhibit Enthusiasm for Learning:
Striving to learn and to grow both intellectually and personally so everyone is a learner.

Act with Integrity and Caring:
Exhibiting honesty, trustworthiness, and compassion in one’s work and relationships.

Value all People:
Working to create an inclusive and respectful workplace that models the Great Commitments and seeks to find the best in all people.

Work as a Team:
Developing collaborative and team oriented abilities that will create a community of mutual respect, common vision, and shared accomplishments.

Serve Others:
Nurturing a climate of excellence in service that is responsive to others needs

Encourage Plain and Sustainable Living: 
Promoting a sustainable way of life through policies and practices in the workplace.

Celebrate Work Well Done:
Striving for excellence in all aspects of work and celebrating individual and collective accomplishments.

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