Central State University Announces Collaboration with AFL-CIO and Eastern Gateway Community College

Members of the nation’s largest federation of labor unions will be able to earn online bachelor’s degrees from Central State University (CSU) through a new and historic agreement affirmed today.

The agreement was announced today by CSU President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond and Mitch Stevens, President of Union Privilege, a nonprofit organization founded by the AFL-CIO to provide top-quality consumer benefit programs exclusively to union members and their families.

The agreement expands the exclusive educational opportunities available to the 12.5 million members of the AFL-CIO’s affiliated unions. Union members and their families currently can pursue free online associate degrees through a collaboration with Eastern Gateway Community College. The expansion of the program allows union members to affordably continue their studies and earn bachelor’s degrees from CSU.

“This transformational partnership will make Central State’s excellence more easily recognized from coast-to-coast while supplying the quality of specialized CSU programs to members of America’s largest labor federation,” said Jackson-Hammond.

Stevens added: “We are excited to partner with an institution as storied as CSU to provide working families across America with an affordable and convenient solution to completing a bachelor’s degree program.”

Central State Provost Pedro Martinez praised the partnership for its ability to reach non-traditional students and improve the livelihoods of union members.

“This is an excellent strategy to expand our educated workforce and address the workforce gap for the state of Ohio and our entire nation,” Martinez said. “College graduates with a bachelor's degree typically earn 66 percent more than those with only a high school diploma and are also far less likely to face unemployment.”

Added Tonjia Coverdale, vice president for Information Technology and CIO: “This is such a pivotal moment for us where education meets innovation and through the power of technology, Central State will propel forward into our future, boundless, without limits, and being able to serve students without the confines of time and space.”

Central State University, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, is a regionally accredited 1890 Land-Grant University with a 132-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research and service. The university, which has been named HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest, fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation and STEM-Ag curriculum leading to professional careers and advanced studies globally.

Union Plus, founded by the AFL-CIO in 1986, uses the collective buying power of America’s 12.5 million union members to deliver top-quality benefits and services at competitive prices to working families. Union Plus offers a wide range of programs, including credit cards, home mortgages, discounts on wireless service from AT&T, insurance protection, educational resources, travel and entertainment discounts. To learn more, visit unionplus.org.

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