Union Plus recently awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 106 students representing 31 unions, including one winner representing the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS). This year’s group of scholarship recipients includes university, college, and trade or technical school students from 35 states. The BRS winner is Skyla Heise of Hagerstown, Maryland. Heise, whose father, John Heise, is a member of BRS Local 31, has been awarded a $750 scholarship.
“Education is a vital building block for success,” Union Plus President Mitch Stevens said. “We’re pleased to be helping some of the labor movement’s most promising students achieve their college dreams.”
Skyla Heise is a 2017 homeschool high school graduate and student at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, where she has taken classes since September 2015. She expects to complete associate degrees in arts and sciences and graphic design at Hagerstown Community College in May 2018 and hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree thereafter. Her sister, Janai Heise, was a 2015 Union Plus scholarship recipient. Skyla, who works for her family’s beekeeping business, said her family’s life has improved since her father joined BRS. “My father is much happier since he has a union job,” she said. “He has someone to fight for him and protect him just like he would protect us.”
Skyla’s high school activities and honors include: 4-H Level Six Diamond Clover Award; President’s Volunteer Service Award (2012, 2014, 2016); Maryland 4-H State Council, vice president of service (2017), county representative (2015-2017); delegate, National 4-H Congress (2016); president, Sunlight 4-H Club (2016-2017); volunteer, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts; volunteer, Farm Bureau AgLiteracy Unit; Miss Washington County Farm Bureau (2016).
The Union Plus Scholarship Program, now in its 26th year, awards scholarships based on outstanding academic achievement, personal character, financial need and commitment to the values of organized labor. The program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation.
Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded more than $4.2 million in educational funding to more than 2,800 union members, spouses, and dependent children. Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school, or recognized technical or trade school. The selection process is very competitive, and this year over 5,100 applications were received from 65 unions and all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories.
Visit unionplus.org/scholarship for applications and benefit eligibility