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Union member gets wired for success with Union Plus help

Posted on October 28, 2013
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"Being an IBEW member has instilled in me the desire to be the best," says Shawn Haggin of Roseburg, OR, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 659.

Haggin has worked to be the best through his own professional training, and through helping train others by teaching a class in photovoltaic energy.

"From my apprenticeship to the present day," he says, "IBEW has given me the opportunity to further my education, and has always encouraged me to do so."

Last year, Haggin decided to advance his education in a new direction. He applied to the National Labor College (NLC) to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Construction Management and simultaneously applied for a Union Plus scholarship.

NLC is the nation's only accredited higher education institution devoted exclusively to educating union members, leaders and staff. Additionally, Union Plus awards $25,000 in scholarships to union members who attend NLC. Union Plus provides a wide range of money-saving benefits and services to union members, including discounts on AT&T wireless service, a credit card and mortgage with unique financial assistance, savings on travel and recreation, and more.

Haggin is pursuing his NLC degree online. "It wouldn't have been possible any other way," he says. "I work on residential, commercial and industrial job sites up and down the west coast, so I'm always busy. I appreciate that NLC understands the realities that working people face, and gives us credit for our work experience."

"I feel that this degree will help me run jobs in a professional manner, help my compatriots fulfill their objectives, and secure my place as a leader," he adds.

Haggin has already taken a step in ensuring a leadership opportunity. He recently accepted a position as Assistant Chief Electrical Inspector for the State of Oregon. It's the kind of opportunity he feels would not have been available if he hadn't continued to advance his education.

Of course, working for the state might entail joining a public sector union. If it does, Shawn says he'll do so gladly-but he'll also keep his IBEW membership. "I'm proud to be a member of IBEW and I always will be."

"IBEW and Union Plus have supported my education to help me be the best," Haggin says. "I just want to say thank you."

Awards are determined and administered by the NLC. These awards are based on financial need and are granted each term in January, May and September.

NLC online degrees offer credit for prior college coursework and apprenticeships, and are available in the following areas:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Construction Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Emergency Readiness & Response Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies including four majors: Union Leadership & Administration; Labor Education; Labor Safety & Health; and Labor Studies

More information and an online enrollment form are available at

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