September 3, 2014
SUNY Empire State College Welcomes National Labor College Students and Alumni Association
(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Sept. 4, 2014) SUNY Empire State College will provide classes for more than 100 National Labor College students this fall. In addition, the National Labor College Alumni Association, now known as the NLCaa, has selected Empire State College as its new home.
Empire State College was among the colleges and universities selected by the NLC to assist with its transition to closure by enrolling and teaching some of its students.
NLC students who complete their remaining degree requirements with Empire State College by December 2015 will earn their NLC degree. Students who are unable to complete their requirements in this time period will be able to transfer their credits and complete an Empire State College degree.
The NLCaa now operates as a self-managed alumni association under the Empire State College Foundation. Members of NLCaa will enjoy all the benefits offered to Empire State College alumni, including participation in events held throughout New York state and beyond.
NLCaa will continue to lobby for workers’ rights, grant scholarships and work to ensure that labor education will be offered to members of all unions.
“As chair of the board of trustees, I am pleased that the National Labor College is working with SUNY Empire State College to provide an opportunity for our students to complete their NLC degrees,” said AFL-CIO President and National Labor College Board of Trustees Chair Richard L. Trumka. “The colleges share common goals and aspirations to provide high-quality education to members of the labor movement and to support the diverse needs of adult learners. The two institutions have built a strong and mutually supportive relationship that stands as a model for how higher-education institutions can work together for the benefit of their students and graduates. I am especially gratified that the Empire State College Foundation is providing a home for the National Labor College Alumni Association, so that their work also can continue.”
“I am happy to welcome NLC students and all of my colleagues in NLCaa to Empire State College,” said Morton Bahr ’83, ’95, president emeritus of the Communications Workers of America, a two-time Empire State College alumnus and member of the college’s foundation board. “Having received honorary doctorate degrees from both the National Labor College and Empire State College, I can say without any hesitation that having NLC students complete their degree through ESC makes all the sense in the world and the NLCaa and ESC are natural partners and a perfect fit. The Empire State College NLCaa partnership provides us with the opportunity to collaborate as we work to bring higher education to more union members across the country. Although it was unfortunate that the NLC was forced to shut down, what it has stood for and its traditions will be able to continue through Empire State College’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies and the ESC affiliation with the NLCaa.”
“On behalf of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, I congratulate our brothers and sisters of the NLC Alumni Association and Empire State College on this new partnership,” said International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers General Secretary-Treasurer and Empire State College Alumnus Robert Roach Jr. ’96. “As an ESC graduate, I credit much of my success to this great college. I am pleased that other union members will have the same opportunities. Through this partnership, the labor movement will work to develop programs and opportunities for all our brothers and sisters to continue their education in the same proud tradition started by the National Labor College.”
“SUNY Empire State College is proud to welcome NLC students and to support the members of the NLCaa,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of Empire State College. “NLC students, and many Empire State College students, are union members and working adults with specific learning needs and goals. Both colleges understand how to best meet the requirements of these nontraditional students, and since student success is what we are all about, providing NLC students with the right educational environment will go a long way in helping them complete their NLC degree. The NLCaa and Empire State College also share goals and traditions, including working to provide union members with greater access to higher education and supporting working men and women as they work toward degree completion. By having a shared set of structures and supports, NLCaa and Empire State College can learn from each other and work together for the benefit of nontraditional, adult students.”
“So few colleges or universities truly understand how to support working men and women seeking a college degree,” said National Labor College President Paula Peinovich. “National Labor College students and alumni are the beneficiaries of the innovation in adult learning that is the hallmark of both the National Labor College and Empire State College. It has been rewarding working with Empire State College to create a path for our students to complete their NLC degrees and then become part of the Empire State College-supported NLCaa. Our commitment to education for working people binds us together.”
“The National Labor College Alumni Association was thrilled to be offered a new home and we are proud to become a member of the SUNY Empire State College family,” said Lainie Kitt, vice president of the NLCaa and past treasurer of the National Labor College Alumni Association. “We felt joining forces with Empire State College, a public institution of higher education that provides among its degrees several in labor studies for union members, was a great way to advance the labor movement. We will continue to help union members, alumni and NLC students to receive a solid labor education and to ensure the vision and mission of NLC will continue on for generations to come.”
“We are completely committed to do all we can to serve NLC students, alumni and union members so they can carry on with their education and complete their degrees,” said Michael Merrill, dean of the college’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies. “Together with the success of our students and our mutual collaboration, we can demonstrate the value and need for educating union members and, in so doing, help them continue to protect middle-class America. This is bittersweet; I am sorry to see the NLC close its doors.”
Founded in 1969 by the AFL-CIO as the George Meany Training Center, NLC became a degree-granting institution in 1997 and was accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in 2004. Since that time, NLC has produced more than 1,300 graduates through its eight degree programs in labor and professional studies.
About SUNY Empire State College
SUNY Empire State College offers degrees in labor studies at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels online, face-to-face and through a blend of both through the college’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, Center for Distance Learning and School for Graduate Studies.
At the undergraduate level, students have the opportunity to focus on work, workers and the social, cultural and institutional presence of the working class in a historical and contemporary context as they complete their degrees.
More information about the labor center, including its programs with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 1 and the New York City classroom teacher aides represented by the United Federation of Teachers, is available at http://www.esc.edu/labor-studies-center/labor-studies-programs/.
At the graduate level, students have the opportunity to earn an advanced graduate certificate in work and public policy, which is fully applicable to the M.A. in Work and Labor Policy.
Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites and more than 35 locations in the state of New York.
The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.
Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.
The college’s 73,000 alumni are active in their communities in roles such as union members and leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military.
More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.
SUNY Empire State College media contact: David Henahan, director of communications
518-587-2100, ext. 2918
518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)
NLCaa media contact: Lainie Kitt, vice president
NLCaa media contact: Vicki L. O’Leary, treasurer