When Todd Bedard first heard about the Union Plus Free College Program in 2018, he knew it would change lives. "As my local's president, I wanted to be able to talk to my members about it firsthand," he says. "I signed up within a day or so and haven't looked back." Bedard decided to pursue an associate degree in business management and hopes to complete a four-year degree next.
When Todd Bedard, president of Manchester, N.H., IBEW Local 2320, first heard about the Union Plus Free College Program in 2018, he immediately saw the potential for its impact on the lives of his union brothers and sisters — and himself.
"As president, I wanted to be able to talk to my members about it firsthand," he says. "I signed up within a day or so and haven't looked back."
Bedard, who has been an equipment installer for the last 20-plus years, decided to pursue an associate degree in business management through the program.
"I want to see where a business degree can take me in the future," he says, adding that he may pursue a four-year college degree and possibly an MBA, something he never would have otherwise considered at 47 years old.
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.
"I haven't taken a dime out of my pocket," Bedard says.
Bedard especially appreciates the flexibility of online learning, which allows him dive into schoolwork whenever he has a free moment. He's an evangelist when it comes to urging Local 2320 brothers and sisters to enroll.
"I tell everyone who will listen: If you're not doing it, you're losing money," he says.
To learn more about the Union Plus Free College Program and how to apply, visit unionplusfreecollege.org or call (888) 590-9009.
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