IAM, Empire State College Take Next Step Toward Labor College Partnership

IAM members may be able to begin pursuing higher education degrees from the State University of New York’s (SUNY) Empire State College (ESC) as soon as September 2015. Classes from the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. Center for Labor Studies and the ESC School of Graduate Studies will be offered at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, MD.

The first residency, or “Port of Entry,” week has been tentatively scheduled for September 20-25, 2015. The confirmation of the September date for the first Port of Entry week is subject to approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, which is slated to occur in mid-July. The Port of Entry week begins the process of earning a Baccalaureate degree and consists of three classes: Educational Planning, College Writing, and Readings in Labor and Public Affairs.

“This partnership reflects the IAM’s commitment to educational access for the membership,” said IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., a graduate of ESC’s Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies. “The Winpisinger Center has long been a brick and mortar symbol of that commitment to educational access; this college degree partnership underscores that commitment and reflects our understanding that education is critical to our future as an organization.”

The IAM/ESC Partnership allows members to pursue or complete a Baccalaureate Degree through a combination of coursework at the Winpisinger Center. Click here to see a list of the nearly 40 programs approved for college credit.

Members may also apply for apprenticeship and military training, and use prior work or other life experiences with online classes at ESC in order to complete their degree. Members are able to transfer credits from other colleges or universities.

IAM Education Representatives Chris Wagoner, Rhonda Rogers and Elaine Poland of the William W. Winpisinger Center met recently with ESC Center for Labor Studies Dean Mike Merrill and other representatives from the college to move the partnership forward.

“I am very excited about the Van Arsdale Center’s developing partnership with the IAM,” said Merrill. “Together we will be able to provide IAM members with access to an affordable college education of the highest quality. More than that, the IAM/Empire State College Partnership is intended to help emerging activists and leaders of the labor movement acquire the intellectual skills and confidence they need to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The old economy is passing away and a new economy is being born. We need to understand what is happening and what we can do about it. This partnership will equip IAM activists and leaders to do just that.”

Empire State College is a fully accredited university and serves students in the United States, Canada and abroad. The Partnership Program has a limited residency requirement of up to three week-long sessions at the Winpisinger Center; other required classes can be taken online.

If you are interested in enrolling in the program, click here to complete and submit a short interest form.

For more information about the IAM/ESC Partnership Program, click here to download a brief PowerPoint presentation. If you have further questions, contact IAM Education Representative Rhonda Rogers at rrogers@iamaw.org.