The Polk School

The Polk School

The Regina V. Polk Women’s Labor Leadership Conference, established in 1988, honors Teamster Local 743 organizer Regina V. Polk, who died in a tragic plane crash in Southern Illinois. The Polk School, as it is fondly called, is a multi-day, participatory conference for working women, run by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Labor Education Program. It creates an open & invigorating space for rank-and-file union activists & community leaders to learn from skilled instructors, and one another.

The goal of the program is to learn the nuts and bolts of contract enforcement while also developing your skills as a leader. The curriculum is developed for women who are just beginning their training as well as those with more experience; this mix allows us to learn from one another.

During the four-day conference, you will learn from over 30 women workers from Illinois and the Midwest representing all kinds of work. Courses are taught by university labor educators, experienced labor lawyers, union and worker-organization staff members, and Polk alumnae.
At the end of the training, you will join the ranks of over 500 women workers who have attended the Polk School before you. These alumnae have gone on to elected union leadership, union staff positions, returned to school, and so much more!

Applications Open!

The 2024 Polk School will take place in person only, May 1-5, 2024 at Pere Marquette Lodge and State Park in Grafton, IL.

Cost- $850 which includes instruction, room, and board. Scholarships are available!
Application deadline: March 15, 2024
Apply online at