By DEBORAH A. MILES
When it comes to saving money and earning more money, most people are grateful for union-negotiated benefits that help accomplish these financial goals. At the same time, although extra pay is always welcomed, the opportunity to advance in one’s career can be equally rewarding.
Samuel Pam knows this to be true.
In 1999, when this PEF member was working as a grade 16 labor services representative in the Alien Employment Certification Office at the state Department of Labor (DOL) in Manhattan, he decided to return to school and take accounting courses.
“I attended Brooklyn College, and did so well I earned another bachelor’s degree. I took several classes, and through the PEF Tuition Reimbursement Program, I saved $600 per class.
Because of my education, I was able to switch from working as a labor services representative and into the department’s accounting line. I was promoted and am currently a grade 23 unemployment insurance auditor 2,” Pam said.
“Had I not returned to school, I most likely would still be a labor services representative.”
PEF Executive Board member and Division 245 Council Leader Scarlett Ahmed said more members are taking advantage of the Tuition Reimbursement Program.
“Too many members within DOL are non-permanent hourlies who lack economic parity with permanent workers. I constantly urge them to take advantage of the great benefits PEF has negotiated, such as the Tuition Reimbursement Program. I’ve often said, ‘You may not have the career you want, but perhaps PEF can help you get the education you need to launch your next move.’
“I also used the Tuition Reimbursement Program to pay for part of my master’s degree, so I am a fan,” Ahmed said.
“This education benefit is important because it gives you an opportunity to advance in your career,” Pam said. “PEF gives you the opportunity to go back to school and pay for the classes. And now I have the opportunity to earn more money.”