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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Banking on the Future

Teamsters Local 215 labor union invests in education.

The Teamsters Local 215 labor union has invested in the community by way of post-secondary education scholarships for 25 years, awarding more than 2,100 scholarships for nearly $4 million to the children of union members.

Chuck Whobrey, president and business manager of Local 215, helped establish the scholarship fund in 1997 and currently maintains it. Local 215 negotiates employer contributions to the scholarship fund in its collectively bargained contracts.

“These scholarships give people an opportunity to attend any post-secondary education accredited institution,” he says. “Helping these families raises the standards in our community, and any education they can get makes for a better community.”

When students apply for scholarships during their senior year of high school, Whobrey passes on their applications to the volunteer-based scholarship committee. Sherrianne Standley, vice president emerita for advancement at the University of Southern Indiana, has chaired the committee since the beginning.

The committee considers several criteria, including students’ grades, leadership experiences, community involvement, and an essay. The scholarships are awarded for one year and are renewable annually for their first five years out of high school. Standley says students have attended several colleges, medical and trade programs, and even horseshoeing school.

“I see a change in the aspirations of the applicants, and I think it’s a result of students who have learned that the scholarship is available,” she says. “It helps them know that a new door could open to an education.”

Greg Greathouse’s two children received education scholarships toward college from the Teamsters union. The Vanderburgh County Highway Department employee says the scholarships help ease financial stress on students and families.

“I think the scholarships help create work ethic,” he says, “and it’s always great when kids are put in a position to help other people and do good in their community. It helps create good citizens.”

“While the scholarships directly help the students receive education, it also helps the union members uplift their families,” Whobrey says.

TEAMSTER.ORG/LOCALS

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