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CSEA Single Mom Completes Bachelor's Degree

Janet Washington, a California School Employees Association (CSEA) member, is a single mom. Between her full time job, her own jewelry business and raising her daughter, Washington struggled to find the time and resources to complete her bachelor’s degree and advance her career. Then she learned about the Union Plus Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program, which allowed her to complete her degree for free.

CSEA Single Mom Completes Bachelor's Degree

Janet Washington is a woman of many talents.

When she's not working as a secretary for the Kern High School District or raising her 11-year-old daughter, she's running her small business – custom-making jewelry and designing and refurbishing clothes and accessories.

But Washington, a member of the California School Employees Association (CSEA) Local 81, has bigger dreams for her future. She wants to expand her company, or work for a design firm, or maybe be a marketing director someday.

"I just know I can do anything – the only thing holding me back is not having [my college] degree," Washington says. Washington's outlook began to change last April, when she found out Union Plus was offering a free benefit for union members to earn their bachelor’s degree online.

"For years I struggled trying to find a way to complete my bachelor's," Washington recalls. "This was the breakthrough I needed."

Through an academic partnership with Central State University, a historically black university, the Union Plus Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program offers union members and their families education scholarships that cover all tuition, fees, and e-books. To be eligible, students must have already earned an associate degree or have 60 or more transferrable credits, with a 2.2 GPA or higher.

"CSU is flexible and fast paced," Washington says. "I'm able to complete my degree program from the comfort of my home, while educating my daughter. The classes are easy to follow, and there is plenty of time to complete assignments."

Washington expects to graduate in May with a business management degree. Meanwhile, she does her schoolwork before her day job or after her daughter goes to bed.

"She sees me late at night, early in the morning. I'm a motivation and I like that," Washington says. "She looks up to me and I want her to see you can do anything, no matter what."

To learn more about the Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program, visit bachelorsdegree.unionplus.org.

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