Union free college helps father, daughter share dream

Posted Feb. 20, 2019 by

For Steve Signor, a Licensed Practical Nurse at the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP), you could say being in the union is a “family affair.” Both he and his daughter, Jennifer, have been taking advantage of the FREE COLLEGE benefit with Eastern Gateway Community College. And last year, both graduated with their associate degrees to become Registered Nurses, his daughter in the spring and he in the winter.

Since the pair live in the Youngstown area, both are able to go to college in person at the EGCC campus in Youngstown and take advantage of the full catalogue of educational offerings, including the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) that allows them to make an efficient progression from LPN to RN. While most OCSEA members take advantage of the online school, those in the Youngstown or Steubenville areas can go to the brick and mortar school in those locations.


Steve has been an LPN for OSP for the last 6 years, and has never had an opportunity like this to get a college degree while continuing to work full-time. He says he encourages others to find their educational path, no matter where they are in their career. “I’m 51, so I’m no spring chicken, but I would encourage everybody to take advantage of this, to better their position,” he said.

His next steps will be to apply for his authorization test to take his nursing state boards.

His daughter has already gotten her license and now works as an RN in an extended care facility. Steve hopes to continue his career with the state.

“It was a long process, because I didn’t have any college coming out of high school, but I did the prerequisites and went right into the set schedule for the nursing degree,” he said. Although there were some bumps along the road, he was able to work with management on his schedule, he said.

And now, after Steve paved the way, another LPN at OSP has begun the EGCC nursing program.

EGCC President Jimmy Bruce attended Stephen’s graduation ceremony and said: “This is why we do it. This is possible because of our partners working together as one to bring education to hard working adults and their families, like this.”