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UMAP & Local 18007

Brothers and Sisters,

The completion of Cohort 14 was March 10, 2017. Some members still may be unaware of the long process Veterans take while at Dawson Technical.  A better understanding of the process our Veterans face before we even meet them at our shops is needed.  First and foremost, there is the honorable and faithful service to our country that has been fulfilled by these Veterans.

It might come as a surprise to most, but 6 months of straight gas industry work is not the only thing learned. Fact, every procedure and A.O.C’s a Utility Worker needs to know to be on the streets and in a home, gets covered for 2-4 hours a day for months. The rest of the 7am to 6:30pm day is spent in full time enrollment at Dawson Technical Institute. A total of 52 college credit courses are earned, which is credit hours away from an Associate degree. These classes, along with being OSHA certified, need to be completed with a 2.5 GPA. Three days missed constitutes as an immediate drop from the program, and 3 times being late, equals one missed day.

This is an accelerated program which means a couple of things. First, there is homework on top of your 7am to 6:30pm day. That’s not the scary part, any failed class drops you off track to graduate with your cohort and begin your internship. This means you will have to wait another 7 months to a year to complete that course and finish your program with another cohort. By the time our Veterans have gotten to their respective shops, they’ve pretty much gone a year without being able to take a day off. No days for being sick. No days for court or the doctor and nothing is given to them for births or bereavement. The process continues as they finally start to get paid in there internship. Cohorts remain on probation for a 6month period, get no PTO for a year, and any day off counts as an occurrence; approved or not.

Not at any point is a job guaranteed, just an opportunity. As our business manager, Rick Passarelli, says “Veterans aren’t looking for a hand out, JUST A HAND UP”.  There is no other acceleration program like this nationwide. The process is only possible with the UMAP program which was created by Rick Passarelli, City Colleges of Chicago, and Local Gas Workers 18007. In efforts to continue, our Business Manager consistently visits Capitol Hill to secure funds and lobby. He travels the nation educating unions and companies in UMAP and 18007 successes’ with the program.  As such, these other unions and companies have begun to emulate the process.  None of this would be possible without our Executive Board members, past and present, and for your dedication and commitment to this process, THANK YOU!


Fraternally Yours,

Joe Tischina

Union Stewart, South Shop

Semper Fi