Jesus Salas is the descendant of a Mexican-American family who first came to Wisconsin during the 1940s. He worked throughout his early school years as a migrant farmworker. Salas led protests, marches, and organizing efforts to secure rights and improve conditions for himself, his family, and the migrant community during the 1960s and 1970s. Salas has an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and an advanced degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Salas is a ShopTalk speaker for the Wisconsin Humanities Council's Working Lives Project, and has worked as a teacher and scholar at Madison Area Technical College (now Madison College), the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Salas served as a member of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents from 2003-07.