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All participants in the Union Education Trust have a story to tell about their experience: Those are success stories of achievement. Eligible state bargaining unit employees are encouraged to use their UET benefits, and often it helps to hear about how fellow union members are taking advantage of the program. After all, UET offers many ways for you to defray the cost of further education, whether it’s a college degree program or a one-day workshop. However you decide to use your UET benefit, you will find that it helps advance your career and enhance your future employment security. Even more, it changes how you feel about yourself. Here is one OCSEA member’s story about how he used UET to achieve his goals:
When UET participant Clarence Imhoff needed help with a college class, he didn’t go to a tutoring center. He asked his younger relatives.
“I had to go to my grandkids to ask ‘How do you do this?’” Imhoff, who was studying for his bachelor’s degree in public safety and emergency management, said.
While applying for and using UET was easy, trigonometry was not.
“I enjoyed all the actual core classes and because of my background, I blew through them,” he said, explaining that he had experience in fire service as a volunteer for more than 25 years and that made the classes that applied that knowledge his favorites. “The bad ones were the bad ones, like math.”
Although it took Imhoff several tries to pass that math class, he earned his degree from Grand Canyon University in 2016. Imhoff, a highway technician with ODOT and president of the OCSEA Lake-Geauga chapter 4300, credits UET with making attaining his degree possible. He encourages other eligible state bargaining unit employees to see how UET can benefit them through one of its many programs.
“The UET program has been a great benefit to me,” he said. “It lowered my financing for school. If our union members don’t take advantage of the program, they are missing out.”
UET has many benefits to eligible state bargaining unit employees, but it also benefits the state agencies that employ them. As state employees develop skills — whether learning new information about an emerging field, picking up a new skill to perform a new task, improving their ability to communicate with others, or mastering organization — they improve and enhance their workplaces and advance the outcomes of the agencies. UET enriches the lives of each employee, their agency, and the citizens of Ohio.
It also benefits the union, OCSEA. Imhoff decided to run for chapter president seven years ago when he saw how important it was to be a leader in OCSEA. In addition to promoting UET to his fellow chapter members, he wants them to be active and support their union.
“I got involved with the union because I wanted to make a difference,” Imhoff said.
UET has the same goal: To make a difference in union members’ lives. The program has constantly improved in response to their needs. New features have been added, benefits have increased, and the application process has been simplified, all because of OCSEA’s focus to provide exceptional educational benefits to the members. Imhoff has seen changes over the years that he used the program, he said.
“The application used to be handwritten, but now is more streamlined,” Imhoff said. Members can apply for UET online or using a one-page mailed-in paper application.
“Customer service is excellent,” Imhoff said. “They always handled any situation quickly when I called in.”
“The whole UET experience was pretty comfortable,” he added.
Taking classes in the field of public safety and emergency management has helped him work towards his career goals, which is the objective of the UET program: UET was negotiated through collective bargaining to enhance members’ employment security.
“I feel that UET has helped my personal knowledge in a field that I love and where I hope to find my dream job,” Imhoff said.
Just as Imhoff has fulfilled his objective of earning his bachelor’s degree and is pursuing other goals using UET, consider how the program can benefit you. How can UET help you write your own success story as you fulfill your dreams, whether it’s enhancing your work performance, gaining employment security, furthering your career or developing your professional skills?
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