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Congratulations to Cohort 15-Bravo!

Congratulations to Cohort 15-Bravo!

Thursday, June 29th, was a day UWUA Local 18007 and its officers will not soon forget!  UWUA Local 18007 was a proud sponsor of the Wounded Warrior Games Luncheon, held at Dicks Last Resort on the Chicago River, prior to the opening ceremonies, honoring America’s heroes. 375 athletes from the Armed Forces, along with warriors from Australia and Great Britain were honored and enjoyed lunch Chicago style. As the hosting branch of the Games, the United States Navy chose our great city of Chicago. Events were held at the United Center, home of the championship Blackhawks and the Bulls. Track and field events were held at Soldier Field, and cycling events were held at UIC. Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson hosted Charity concerts at Soldier Field.

 “Interacting with these brave young men and women who were wounded in defense of our freedoms was a very humbling experience.  I often hear Rick Passarelli talk about the wounded warriors, but to see these heroes in action, and get to know them was life changing,” said Tim Jaroch, President of Local 18007. “The athletes we hosted did not let their injuries slow them down in their life’s pursuit and dreams. What an inspiration!” shared Elizabeth Belcaster, UWUA P4A consultant.

On Wednesday July 5th UWUA Cohort 15’s entire class, led by UWUA Veterans Chair Rick Passarelli, along with instructors Kevin Kearns, Tom Brennan, Dino Di Domenico, and outreach coordinator Ray Tischina, volunteered to facilitate the track and field events, and meet their battle buddies at soldier field. “I thought it would be important in the programs evolution here in Chicago to get our students out of the class room for a day and be with fellow veterans and support them in their efforts during competition,” Richard Passarelli said when discussing the event. The class welcomed a day out from the 6-month grind of the program, just days away from their milestone graduation on July 7th. “The class, when led out onto the field, literally ran to their respective branch of service and interacted in a way that was incredible see! Hugging each other, taking pictures holding up unit flags and branch battle calls could be heard with tears and cheers.” said Ray Tischina.   “It was like they were best buddies sitting across the bar having a beer and telling stories like friends do.” shared Rick Passarelli.

 The Cohort 15- Bravo is the 15th graduating class, representing over 350 veterans to graduate from the UWUA power 4 Americas UMAP program. “I could not be more proud of this group, and every class before them.  Six months offers extensive training, but its pay off in a career as a union utility worker, and is like a golden ticket for these young men and women” said Richard Passarelli.

 On July 7, 2017, Cohort 15- Bravo graduated in front of family, friends, and guest speakers from near and as far as Washington D.C.   Everyone touted praise for the UWUA P4A UMAP program and expressed its implementation as a nationwide best practice.  

When discussing the benefits of the program, Col. Sowards, of the Department of Chief of Staff of the United States Army said, “This program allows for veterans transitioning to the civilian sector, a chance to have a career that offers similar parallels to the military. It also allows for the veterans to provide for their family with dignity, and an opportunity to share in the American dream.”

Eric Assumussen from the Department of Labor added “This program by far is the shining star across the country for employers and other labor unions to follow. We are close to signing a National MOU with the P4A that will bring the last piece of the puzzle by allowing a nationally recognized apprenticeship to the Umap and P4A.”

 National Commander Charles Schmidt of The American Legion awarded the prestigious Leadership in Excellence Award to Richard Passarelli. “This award is accepted on behalf of the dozens of individuals who on a day to day basis make this program work.  Just as in the military, no one person is ever bigger than the mission,” with that, Ricks closing remarks called 15-Bravo to their feet and gave the following instructions, “Class 15 -Bravo you are officially dismissed!” as the students and their families cheered.

Article and Photos written By UWUA Local 18007 Recording Secretary Arnell Newman