IAM Announces Labor Studies Partnership with SUNY Empire State College

Left to right, IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger and WWW Director Chris Wagoner ink a new partnership to allow IAM members to pursue higher education degrees with the State University of New York Empire State College.

The IAM and the State University of New York (SUNY) Empire State College (ESC) announced a new partnership that will allow IAM members to pursue higher education degrees from the ESC Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies and the ESC School of Graduate Studies. Classes will be offered at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education Center in Hollywood, MD.

The partnership with Empire State College (ESC) is a new opportunity for IAM members to earn college degrees now that the program with the National Labor College (NLC) has ended. As with the NLC program, IAM members will be able to complete coursework at the WWW Center and online with ESC’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies and its School for Graduate Studies.

IAM members can enroll in programs leading to an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science in Labor Studies. Those who have completed a bachelor’s degree can pursue a Master of Arts in Work and Labor Policy.

“The IAM’s commitment to making higher education accessible to our membership did not end with the National Labor College’s unfortunate closure,” said IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., an ESC alumnus. “The IAM remained committed to finding another institution of higher learning that was willing to partner so that our members could continue to have access to a high-quality, affordable education. As an ESC graduate, I credit much of my success to this great university. We want other union members to have the same opportunities. Through this partnership, IAM members will be able to continue their education in the same proud tradition started by NLC.”

“I think William Winpisinger – former International President and our Education Center’s namesake – would be incredibly proud of this initiative,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “He was a lifelong learner who believed in the power of education. He believed that our future as a movement was directly connected to having an educated and informed membership.  This unique partnership with Empire State College builds upon and expands the IAM’s long tradition of membership education – and in doing so, helps secure our ability to fight for justice on the job and provide service to the community.”

“I am incredibly excited about our partnership with the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies at Empire State College,” said WWW Director Chris Wagoner. “They have a long tradition of providing high-quality, nationally-accredited, worker-centered education for members, officers and activists in the labor movement. The faculty and administration at the Van Arsdale Center share our commitment to justice in the workplace and the broader community. They recognize that the world in which we organize, negotiate and represent has become increasingly turbulent – and that rigorous activist education is critical to our future. We are proud to partner with them.”

“We are quite excited about this opportunity to partner with the Machinists Union,” said Michael Merrill, dean of the SUNY Empire State College Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies. “We’ve always admired the Machinists’ educational tradition and WWW programs. While it is a bittersweet moment with the closing of the National Labor College, we look forward to this opportunity to work with the Machinists in creating a virtual labor college and to do so in many different ways.”

Students may transfer up to 40 credits towards an associate degree or 93 credits towards a bachelor’s degree. Students in the master’s program may use up to 9 credits for relevant graduate-level courses taken at another regionally accredited institution.

ESC and WWW expect to launch the program in 2015.

For more information, contact IAM Education Representative Rhonda Rodgers at 301-373-3300.