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The Trade Union Education Institute was a gift from the Government of the United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as part of the co-operative programme in education.  It was established in 1963 with the support of the Government of Jamaica, the University of the West Indies, the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, the National Workers Union and the Trades Union Congress of Jamaica.

In 2006 the Institute was renamed the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute (HLSTUEI) in honour of the then President of one of the founding unions.  The HLSTUEI is a unit within the Consortium for Social Development and Research at the Open Campus, UWI, Mona.

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