Kent Wong teaches Labor Studies and Ethnic Studies at UCLA, and served as the director of the UCLA Labor Center for more than thirty years.  The UCLA Labor Center has established a national reputation to advance research, education, policy, and leadership development to strengthen the labor movement.  

In 2021, Kent Wong secured a $15 million allocation to purchase a permanent home for the UCLA Labor Center named the “UCLA James Lawson Jr. Worker Justice Center.”    In 2022, he secured $13 million annually from the California State Legislature to strengthen three existing Labor Centers and launch six new Labor Centers within the University of California.  

Before joining the UCLA Labor Center, Kent worked as staff attorney for the Service Employees International Union in Los Angeles. He also served as the first staff attorney for Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles, the largest Asian American civil rights organization in the country. 

Kent served as the founding President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, the first national organization of Asian American union members and workers.  

He is currently a vice-president of the California Federation of Teachers, representing education workers throughout the state.  He previously served as the founding President of United Association for Labor Education, representing union and university labor educators across the country.  

Kent has been at the forefront of global labor initiatives.  He is working with the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center to launch three new Labor Centers in Mexico.  He has also developed relationships between unions and labor scholars in China, Vietnam, Japan, and Okinawa.

Kent has published more than a dozen books on the labor movement, immigrant rights, popular education, and the Asian American community.  His most recent publications are Asian American Workers Rising, Mike Garcia and the Justice for Janitors Movement, and Revolutionary Nonviolence:  Organizing for Freedom capturing the teachings of Rev. James Lawson Jr., who he has taught with at UCLA for the past twenty-two years.  

Kent also taught the first class in the country on the issue of undocumented immigrant students, and published three breakthrough books on the immigrant youth movement.  He launched “Dream Summer,” the first national fellowship program for undocumented youth that has been in existence for fourteen years.