Kathy Patterson calls herself the poster child for ICD.
“I was on salary at (USW) Goodyear for 11 years in the batch lab and my job got outsourced,” Patterson recalled. “I didn’t finish (college) – I loved my job – but I didn’t have any education to find another position.”
She was fortunate enough to land a position with the USW/Goodyear-Danville Career Development Program in Danville, Virginia and has been preaching its benefits since.
“When I took this job, I pushed tuition assistance like you wouldn’t believe,” Patterson said. “We have had (USW Local 831 workers) come in here and we’ve held hands together, we’ve cried together, we’ve wiped tears together.
“The classes work for you. You can build knowledge, you can build (college) credits – you can build something for yourself.
“It can happen and it can work!”
Patterson and co-Coordinator Gina Fox work hand-in-hand with the Local Joint Committee to make sure the Steelworkers have the best educational opportunities they can offer.
They recently put on an Open House on at the Learning Center in Danville to prove it.
Local 831 brothers and sisters, instructors, and family and friends attended the event with a tour of the facility and classrooms as well as enjoyed homemade barbecue courtesy of LJC member Larry Hook.
“I cannot even begin to tell you how I’ve benefitted from the (CDC) program,” said Donald Crews, a retired Goodyear worker who is now the president of the Local 831 SOAR chapter. “I’ve halfway mastered Excel and one time I made a presentation on a budget pay with QuickBooks, and this lady said, ‘Where did you learn how to do that?’ I told her, ‘It was all because of the CDC program.’ She said, ‘Boy, I wish my company had that.’”
Over the years Crews said he took small engine repair classes, welding, photography, drywall, as well as computer classes. One class he was thrilled to be a part of was the building of a gazebo through the CDC program.
“We built it for a nursing home and I helped deliver it 35 miles away,” Crews said. “We were proud to put it there with the USW sign on it.”
Crews, who worked in skilled trades and maintenance at USW/Goodyear for 37 years, said he’s totally sold on the CDC program.
“I can’t tell you enough of the good things the program has done for so many people,” he said. “It’s an incredible benefit to have.
“These two ladies (Gina and Kathy) really have it going on here in Danville.”