The price tag associated with pursuing higher education can be a deterrent from pursuing one’s dreams. However, the Employee Tuition Assistance Program (ETAP) benefit offered to UAW-Ford hourly team members makes achieving education goals much more affordable. Louisville Assembly Plant’s Chris Ireland, who is in the process of earning his 4th degree while at Ford, can vouch for this.
[ETAP] “has been a lifesaver to me and my family. I talk about it every chance I get to everyone that will listen,” said Ireland. “I'll stand on a pedestal to preach about how important of a benefit the ETAP program is. Ford has paid for all except one class and most of my books.”
UAW-Ford's Education, Development and Training Program covers a variety of benefits, including ETAP which offers up to $6,000 a year in tuition and fees toward a certification or degree, and textbook reimbursement. UAW employees can also receive reimbursement of college tuition costs for their children, up to $1,500 per calendar year, per eligible dependent.
Ireland started his Ford career at the plant in July 2012. Currently, he installs the driver-side half-shafts, and for the last couple of years he has also served as an alternate union representative. He uses these opportunities to chat about the ETAP benefit and what it has allowed him to achieve.