Friday, July 29, 2016

Free Online Associate Degrees for SHARE Members

IMG_0981.PNGAs a SHARE member, through the AFSCME Free College Benefit, you and your family can now earn an associate degree completely online–for FREE. SHARE leaders learned about this new program when it was announced last week at the AFSCME International Convention.

The benefit is offered through our parent organization, AFSCME, in cooperation with Eastern Gateway Community College, to provide members and their families “the chance to earn an online degree from an accredited school with no out-of-pocket expense,” as described on the program flyer. The program is open to active and retired AFSCME members, their children, and dependents.

The degree programs are currently limited to Associate of Business Management, Associate of Criminal Justice, and Associate of Arts (which can be used to progress into baccalaureate programs including psychology, sociology, English, history, fine arts, and communications). An Early Childhood Education degree will be offered beginning next year. 

The program is designed to welcome traditional as well as non-traditional students, including those who have been out of school for a long time, and to be flexible, allowing participants to work while earning their degree. And the degrees are designed to parallel the first two years of related Bachelor's Degree programs to make the coursework transferable.

Learn how the program works by clicking HERE.

The application process involves submitting a simple application form, along with a completed FAFSA form, and school transcripts. Applicants are required to include their AFSCME member number. Although SHARE does not receive information about member numbers, we will be happy to help you find out yours. If you receive mailings to your home from AFSCME, including the AFSCME Works magazine, you can find that number on the address label. Your ID number will look something like this:

SHARE is extremely excited for this new offering. If you run into difficulty finding answers to any questions, we're happy to help: please call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

SHARE PCAs, LPNs, and MAs – Do you want to go back to school? A great opportunity is back!

Last year, SHARE, Worcester State University and UMass Memorial put together a program to help direct caregivers get started at college. We are excited that the Pathways Program has been so successful that WSU is currently preparing for the next wave of classes. To learn more about how you can take advantage, join coordinator Amy Ebbeson at one of the drop-in information sessions listed on the below flyer. You can also contact her directly by phone at (508) 929-8416, or email


It's affordable, at a convenient time and place, and not scary! This program is designed for people who may not have been in a classroom for a long time. You earn 9 or more college credits, which you can transfer to other colleges if you want. You get coaching and support, and you get help making a plan for continuing your education at the end. Your classmates will be other SHARE members in the same boat.

Convenient time: You can do the classes during the day or in the evening. The first group will meet one evening per week (Wednesdays 4:30-7:30pm), starting in April 13th and going through October. A second group will go to classes during the day, starting September 2016 and going through April 2017.

Convenient locations – All classes located at University, Memorial or Hahnemann campuses.

Affordable – The first "getting started" class is free to you – UMass Memorial will pay for it! For the next three classes (3 credits each), you get tuition remission from UMass Memorial for much of the cost. UMass Memorial has agreed to pay that amount up front so that you don’t have to come up with the money ahead of time, like you usually have to -- which is awesome. (If you start but don’t finish a class, you will have to pay back the money.)

To sign up: You can go to OurNet then My HR. Look for "Learning" and click on that. Look for the Direct Care Workers Pathways Program. You can also find it on the Worcester State University website.

Please note:  A state grant is paying for part of this program, and the state limited the program to people currently working as Patient Care Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Medical Assistants (or Medical Office Assistants). We wish we could make this opportunity available to all SHARE members – if this grant goes well, maybe we can do that in the future!