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Issue 3: 5/28/2007
Career Improvement Program helps members achieve their education goals
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The easiest part of going back to school is filling out the Union Education Trust application and receiving your voucher or reimbursement.

“It’s gone quite smoothly for me,” said Todd Jones, a clerk 3 at the Ohio Industrial Commission. “It’s very easy to do and only took a couple of minutes at the computer to set it up.”

Jones then received his voucher by mail, although you can also get it by e-mail.

“Then, I get busy in class,” he said.

Jones has been taking two classes per quarter at Columbus State Community College studying business.

“Initially, I started out just taking courses, but now I’m pursuing my associates degree,” he said. Jones also has a bachelor’s degree in communication that he received prior to entering the full-time work world.

“My degree in communication wasn’t working for me,” Jones said. “Looking at how the state promotes, they tend to focus more on a business degree.”

He recommends continuing your education to anyone: “If you just want to educate yourself on a personal level or for your career, take classes,” he said.

Lisa Stewart, a utility specialist 2 at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, followed the same pattern as Jones and many high school students: She continued to college directly after high school.

“Then I got a job and college became secondary to me because I had a good job with the state,” she said. “But I still wanted to get my degree.”

Stewart is nearing her goal: She has two classes left and then she’ll have her bachelor’s degree in business and human resources from Franklin University.

“I’m ready to be done!” she said, adding that she takes classes one at a time, because she also has two young children in addition to her full-time job.

The Union Education Trust and its predecessor, Workforce Development, have been invaluable to Stewart: “That’s how I paid for most of my schooling,” she said. “It’s a great program.”

She appreciates the improvements that have made the Union Education Trust so member-friendly, she said. “I like it much better this way. It’s much easier and user-friendly,” she said.

Stewart explained that the applications are easy to fill out: “You add the name of your class and the tuition and hit submit,” she said. “About two days later, I got my voucher back by e-mail, printed it and mailed it to the school.” “It’s wonderful.”