Dr.Harold Oaklander '52 (center) lectured to ILR students on Monday.

Courtesy of Christine Oaklander.

Dr.Harold Oaklander '52 (center) lectured to ILR students on Monday.

May 4, 2018

ILR Alumnus Promotes Courses on ‘Relatively Neglected’ Issue of Unemployment

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Dr. Harold Oaklander ’52 lectured in what he calls an “innovative and disciplinary course” that may be the only for-credit university class on U.S. unemployment on Monday.

School of Industrial and Labor Relations senior research associate Ian Collins Greer, who teaches the unique course that took Oaklander over 10 years to devise, said he invited the ILR alumnus for his role in promoting unemployment-related Cornell courses and activities and teachable knowledge derived from his extensive “research and advocacy on unemployment issues since the 1970s.”

Oaklander gave students in the class a case study illustrating differences in U.S. and Japanese unemployment rates and the historical and cultural trends that affect the unemployment rates of the respective countries.

“Students take away from the lecture substantive knowledge about lifetime employment in Japan and job-sharing arrangements that prevent layoffs in the U.S.,” Greer said. “They also take away with them impressions of meeting a man who has been passionately working on these issues for four decades.”

After his time at Cornell, Oaklander went on to receive his Master’s degree in Industrial Administration at Yale University. He then earned a Ph.D. at Columbia University, while simultaneously teaching at Pace University.

His work has focused greatly on U.S unemployment, and he has had a long career devoted to labor management.

After the global oil-shock recession in the 1970s, Oaklander saw the significance of U.S. unemployment and the response of non-governmental organizations. Oaklander felt that unemployment was a “relatively neglected” problem in American society, so he began to gather statistics and publish articles on the topic.

Oaklander was a professor and associate within the Lubin Graduate School of Business at Pace University, serving the school for over 20 years, and he organized one of New York first Executive MBA programs.

After retiring from Pace, Oaklander instituted a fellowship program, first for ILR students and then for Cornell Law School students.

For nearly two decades, The Harold Oaklander Public Interest Summer Fellowships annually has funded eight summer fellowships for law students to work with non-profit organizations, that assist the unemployed and under-employed.