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Temple's Master of Public Policy (MPP) program hosted a panel discussion on career and internship opportunities with unions on October 6th, 2022. Representatives of multiple unions from across the Philadelphia region joined MPP staff and students to speak about their careers and how MPP students can get involved in the labor movement. Temple University was thrilled to welcome Tim Crowder (Legislative Director at Painters District Council 21), Tyler Honschke (Intern at Painters District Council 21), John McGovern (Compliance Auditor at Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters), Matt Toomey (Business Agent at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 542), Matt Trzaska Organizing Director at Painters District Council 21), and Bob Wolper (Founder of Rebuilding American Values) as panelists. 

Continue reading for key takeaways from Clare Maus, a current MPP student, who attended the panel discussion.  

Be open to working in different areas of policy  

The panel included MPP alum John McGovern and current MPP student Tyler Honschke who both held internships with unions. They both stressed that their experiences opened their eyes to the possibility of working for unions - a career path they had not previously considered. After getting hands-on experience working with unions, they are now interested in continuing to work within the labor movement. It is important to remain open to working in different policy areas. You may be surprised by what you enjoy! 

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts  

Union representatives emphasized how valuable MPP students are to their team. MPP students' understanding of the policy-making process helps unions to effectively push their policy proposals, communicate their policy goals, and generate new policy ideas. This knowledge, in conjunction with the skills of other union workers, proved to be a winning combination for the unions. Whether you are working in the labor movement or another policy field, it is important to have people with different backgrounds and perspectives to be an effective organization.  

The labor movement helps everyone (not just union members)  

Panelists stressed how unions fight for better working conditions for all workers, not just union members. You can thank unions for child labor laws, weekends, and workers' compensation. We all have benefited from the hard work of unions! It is critical that the labor movement continue working to protect American workers.  

Thank you again to our panelists for generously offering their time to speak with our students. If you were unable to attend the event, you can watch the recording here.  

Curious what you can do with a Temple University Master of Public Policy? Contact Samantha Apgar, Associate Director, at for more information and check out our Next Stops page for upcoming information session dates.