Building on a mentorship program that the Machinists (IAM) established with Aviation High School in Long Island City, New York, the Alliance for Retired Americans has brought together the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the IAM in a partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY) that provides pre-enrollment credits toward a college degree for high school students. The credits are for extra classes taken in a high school aviation program.
The partnership will credit graduates from Aviation High School who earn their Federal Aviation Administration airframe or powerplant license with 28 to 29 college credits—roughly the equivalent of one year of college—toward a bachelor’s degree in transportation management or labor studies before they enroll in courses at SUNY Empire State College.
Left to right: Janella Hinds, Vice President, Academic High Schools, UFT; Mary Vaccaro, Vice President for Education, UFT; Steven Jackson, Principal, Aviation High School; Dora Cervantes, General Secretary-Treasurer, IAM; Alliance for Retired Americans President Robert Roach; Sue Epstein, Executive Director, Office of Partnerships, SUNY Empire State College; Nathan Gonyea, Officer in Charge, SUNY Empire; Maria Figueroa, Dean, Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies, SUNY Empire.
IAM officials have had a mentorship program with Aviation High School for two decades, and the alliance facilitated discussions between AFT, UFT and SUNY officials to set a goal and execute a plan. The work culminated in Aviation High School and SUNY Empire State College representatives formally signing the new agreement on April 27.
“The Alliance is engaging with young people as well as seniors. The program helps students who have to take care of parents, grandparents or other family members during high school, so they are not left behind due to their caregiving responsibilities. It also helps students who have financial or other family obligations and may need to work,” said Robert Roach Jr., president of the alliance. “UFT members, who are affiliated with AFT, were key to obtaining this agreement. Their dedication and expertise led to this successful outcome. This is a program that could go nationwide if the results are what we believe we can achieve.”