A time to look back AND ahead

For me, this time of year is usually about both reflection AND looking ahead. Is that the way it is for you, too?

When I reflect back on this year, the obvious first thing I think about is getting the word from Al about his plan to retire and then getting the word from the Governing Board that they were naming me the new Executive Director. It was all a huge whirlwind at the time for all of us – especially with the Philadelphia conference bearing down on us at the time.

I think we did a lot of good things in 2018. First and foremost was the conference, but beyond that we conducted training for new LJC members that really lays the groundwork for their future serving on their local committees.

We’re moving forward with getting the Lincoln program off the ground, and we cemented national partnerships with two providers who I believe are going to play a crucial role in our success moving forward – ToolingU and Penn Foster.

We made an upgrade to the database whereby now individuals can log in and check their status and review their course history as well.

No year comes without its challenges, and this year was certainly no different. But we do our best to work through them and learn from them. Hopefully we can take those lessons and turn them into future success.

So what’s on the horizon for next year?

Well for starters, we will conduct two Learning Summits in 2019, one in June and one in the fall. We should have word to you by the end of next month or early February at the latest regarding dates and locations. And those lessons we learned in 2018? You can bet some of them will be incorporated into the Summits.

Tuition Assistance limits have been raised to $2,500 annually and the two-course limit on restricted personal development classes has been removed.

We will continue to assist local programs to fulfill their goals and see what other opportunities come our way. Never shut yourself off to whatever possibilities are out there.

On that note, I’d like to thank you all for everything you’ve done in 2018 on behalf of ICD and the Steelworkers.

Have a great holiday season with you and yours and we’ll see you on the other side in 2019, raring to go. 


  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 12 December / 0 Comments
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Updates from our office

In the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity, along with some of our staff, to visit some of our local programs. It seems 2018 has been a year of significant change – not only in our office but at many local programs across the country as well.

That’s why the training we are conducting here in Merrillville next week and in Cleveland next month  is so important.

Our New Member Training lays all the groundwork for committee members and coordinators to get the type of base-level understanding of the Career Development benefit they need to ensure their local program is running at optimal levels and serving the Steelworkers to its fullest potential.

And from our perspective it doesn’t matter whether you are a 20-year veteran of the program, or someone who just yesterday became aware of the program, when we offer training like we are offering next week and next month, we strive to make sure there is value in it for everyone.

Also, be sure to stop by our office next Tuesday if you are in the area. We are hosting a New Office Open House event from 2 to 6 p.m.

A couple other items …

From the “Better Late Than Never” Department, Korey and I spent the early part of this week in Lincoln, Neb., at an LJC kickoff meeting. Historically speaking, Lincoln has had ICD in its contract since the mid-2000s but has not activated it until now. We are extremely excited about this development and look forward to working with them to make sure the members of USW Local 286 are able to access their benefit.

The ICD Conference Flickr is finally finished and ready for view. You should be able to download any picture you want.

Finally, please take some time and remember your brothers and sisters currently engaged in negotiations with U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal. They have been working on an extended contract for three weeks now. Strike votes have been taken. This is a time of great uncertainty for them and their families. We wish everyone the best.

  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 20 September / 1 Comments
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ICD New Member Training and Open House info

Excuse me if there’s been a lapse in sending out a blog, but we’ve had a lot going on lately!

Between site visits, conference presentations, event planning and – ummm, vacations – the days have been flying off the calendar the past 6 weeks or so.

I’ve got a lot to catch you up on.

This week, we hosted a contingent from Penn Foster to get to know a little more about them and them us, in hopes of perhaps forming a partnership that would be beneficial for our participants. Penn Foster presented a workshop at the national conference in Philadelphia, and a few local programs already use them. We’ll keep you posted as we go, and if you have any thoughts/opinions on them, we’d love to hear them.

We posted a few new news items on the website, in case you’ve missed them, including one on Advisory Board member Ron Hoover being honored by his home local, USW 307, and another on the ArcelorMittal-Riverdale plant celebrating 100 years.

But what I really want to catch you up on is the planning for New Member Training that will happen in September and October.

The September dates for New Member training, in Merrillville, Ind., are Sept. 26-27.

The October dates, in Cleveland, Ohio, are Oct. 23-24.


For registration and hotel reservations for Northwest Indiana, .

For registration and hotel reservations for Cleveland, .

Finally, we will be hosting an Open House/Office Warming party on Sept. 25 in conjunction with the September New Member Training. The Open House is from 2-6 p.m. and we plan to have at least one food truck. Please join us as we celebrate our new digs.

  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 9 August / 0 Comments
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The times they are a changin

In case you haven't noticed, a few things have changed around here.

And if you haven't, we'll start at the top.

Everyone's favorite person (at least in our office) Al Long decided to retire as Executive Director of ICD. That was effective May 31. Stephanie Stalmah is the new ICD Assistant Director and I am the new Executive Director.

And we've added Brian Waddle to our staff as a Program Specialist. Many of you got the chance to meet Brian in Philadelphia. He will be working with some of the sites more closely than others -- primarily the ones Steph and I worked with -- so we will continue to make those introductions over time. You can feel free to reach out to him at .

It's my hope and intention that, from your perspective, things won't change much. We've worked really hard over the past five years to put ICD on a really good track. You all are doing a fantastic job of making sure Steelworkers get the most out of the ICD benefit.

When we can, we try to add to that through different avenues, like the partnership we just announced with . Their ability to deliver online pre-craft training modules should really benefit those participants who desire that kind of training but may not have the time to commit to the standard classroom hours.

We announced two new policy changes in Philly as well that we feel will enhance the learning experience. The first is to remove the two-class restriction on the restricted Personal Development courses (Art/Crafts/Music, Health/Fitness/Sports) while keeping the $1250 spending limit in place. The second is raising the Tuition Assistance cap from $1800 to $2500 per year. A corresponding increase in Issuance 14 will accompany that policy as well. BOTH POLICIES WILL GO INTO EFFECT JANUARY 1, 2019. We will be sending out further guidance later in the year.

Speaking of the conference, Philly was a great time, albeit a bit nerve-racking for some of us. We greatly value your feedback on what worked and what might not have. Please take the time to complete the conference survey by clicking the link here. 

One cosmetic change that you may have already noticed is to this blog. Gone is The Long ... and Short of It. In its place we have HayNow (hat tip to USW Local 1557 President Don Furko for the name).

  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 18 June / 4 Comments
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Learning Opportunities Week Webinars

As part of Learning Opportunities Week programming, ICD has worked with our National Educational Partners to offer two webinars during the week.  Everyone is invited to attend these webinars. 

The first, titled “S.C.O.R.E.: Navigating a Project from Start to Finish” is offered by DeVry University and will air on Monday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. 

The second, titled “Let Language Take You Places” is offered by Rosetta Stone and will air on Wednesday, June 13 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time.

Please mark your calendars now and watch your email and our website:  for more details and log in information. 

Looking forward to all the learning!

  • Posted by sstalmah / Posted on 22 May / 2 Comments
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