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Superwoman: Made of Steel

No time for ICD classes?

Ruth Bussey says hold my hard hat.

The USW Local 1066 member is not only a jack of all trades, but also a master of all, and she does it one class at a time. Bussey’s ICD journey started 17 years ago with a welding class and she hasn’t stopped since.

Bussey has taken 29 customized courses, ranging from art to computer classes. She also has been taking tuition assistance classes since 2015, including the accomplishment of her paralegal certificate—which she proudly claims was used to proceed in her own divorce.

Even though she raises a family on her own, works full time on swing shifts, and has been a member of the USW/U.S. Steel--Gary Works Local Joint Committee for the past nine years, Bussey still finds time to explore different ICD classes.

The drive to learn is in her blood. She dedicates her educational journey to the strong women in her life including her aunt Beth, a retired Steelworker, and her grandmother, who taught her to just go for it, even when the going gets tough.

Bussey’s favorite experience with the ICD program was taking math classes at Indiana University because she appreciated the challenge and knowledge more than when she was in high school. She would complete her homework with her kids at the kitchen table and they would help each other with the hard questions. Bussey said the entire experience brought them all closer together. She also used her ICD benefit to tackle her nemesis – computers! Bussey feels like she never gets tired of learning new things, especially when there is a benefit like ICD that will pay for all of it. She understands more than most that the biggest downfall is finding the time to focus on wanting to learn something new, but you never know when knowledge will be needed for yourself or your family.

“We don’t know how long this mill is going to be around so you might as well try to have something in your back pocket to make it easier to transition into something new,” Bussey said. “The whole point of this program in the beginning was because of layoffs – this job, as secure as it looks, is not.”

Bussey tips her hard hat to Debbie Bohling, the ICD coordinator at Gary Works, for creating and promoting so many of these opportunities for the members.

“Even if you take one class at a time to reach your goal, ICD will be here to pay for it and back you up,” Bussey said. “It is not selfish to take the time to better yourself because how else are you supposed to evolve and grow if you don’t use programs like ICD to your advantage?”


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