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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Tooling U-SME. 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. CONFERENCE SURVEY
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).