Member Hopes to Use Free College Degree to Give Back
Retired Postal Workers member Barnesa Chatterfield describes herself as a "service-oriented individual." After a long career as a postal clerk with additional roles within her union, Chatterfield decided to enroll in the Union Plus Free College Program. She hopes to use her degree in Labor Studies to keep giving back to APWU in some capacity. "I don’t think enough people know about the Free College benefit," Chatterfield says. "It’s a blessing to have Union Plus in our life."
Barnesa Chatterfield has been a member of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) since 1988. Though she recently retired from her career as a postal clerk, she continues to be involved in the union, serving as a state of California Auxiliary President since 2016.
"I’m a service-oriented individual and I love helping people," Chatterfield says of her dedication to giving back.
"My whole career at the postal service - being a union member, a union representative, has been full of blessings," she continues.
Once Chatterfield retired and her kids were out of the house, she took advantage of newfound free time to pursue a long-held personal goal.
"I retired and saw an email about the Union Plus Free College Program, I was like 'School? What? Free! Oh my god!' I immediately jumped on it," Chatterfield says.
The Union Plus Free College Program partners with AFSCME and Eastern Gateway Community College to offer online courses and degree programs with no out-of-pocket cost to active or retired union members and their eligible family members, including spouses and children. Unemployed, furloughed and laid off union workers and their extended families are eligible to enroll.
Chatterfield is taking classes towards an associate degree in Business Management with a focus on Labor Studies, which she hopes to use in service of APWU. Despite not having been in school in over 40 years, she says, "So far, it’s been amazing."
Chatterfield especially appreciates the flexibility of the online program.
"I like that you can go to school 24/7," she says. "You can fit it into your schedule and you don’t have to worry about missing class."
"I don’t think enough people know about the Free College benefit," Chatterfield continues. "It’s a blessing to have Union Plus in our life."
To learn more about the Union Plus Free College Program and how to apply, visit unionplusfreecollege.org or call (888) 590-9009.