Taking a step further with the Union Education Trust

Posted Mar. 30, 2023 by

For Elisha Barnes, an Administrative Professional 2 in the Ohio Department of Transportation from Marietta, Ohio, going back to school has been all about growing. Her union-negotiated Union Education Trust (UET) has helped make that growth a reality.

“I just knew that I needed to take my education a step further to advance my career in ODOT. And, also, to be able to have those credentials when I retire as well,” said Elisha. But how was she going to afford it all she asked herself about heading back to school? Was it just an expensive pipe dream that was out of reach, she asked herself?

Moderately new to ODOT at the time, Elisha was reminded that she had an annual education stipend from her union that she could use to jump-start her college career. The Union Education Trust, the OCSEA-contractually bargained educational benefit, annually allocates up to $6,250 per year in tuition vouchers for higher education and skill-building. The Career Improvement Program (CIP), one of three available programs for members, offers up to $4,000 EVERY year for college-credit courses as well as Vocational Training and Specialty Education.

“Going back to school really does give us all an understanding of what it means to come full circle,” said Elisha, who says she couldn’t be happier about her decision. Read her story on Page 7 of the OCSEA magazine at

The Union Education Trust is where State of Ohio bargaining unit employees go for education assistance. This means an array of courses and schools are available that meet the UET's high eligibility standards for continuing education, training and so much more. Explore the Trust's programs and begin your journey shaping your future for tomorrow's jobs today. Check out the School and Course Search at Want more information on the UET and how it can help the members of your chapter explore their educational options or trainings? Contact the UET Associate Director Derek Urban at 614-865-2635 or