Today, Governor Baker and SEIU 509 signed a landmark agreement to establish a $5.9 million dollar State Worker Training Fund for SEIU 509 state workers. The fund will have three purposes: student loan debt relief, scholarship programs, and training funds.
With national student debt topping $1.5 trillion dollars, this new agreement will provide much-needed relief for members burdened by student loan payments. The State and SEIU 509 will collaborate to administer and set the parameters for how the funds are distributed equitably to all who qualify.
“Our union stands for equality for all and access to strong, affordable education. This fund guarantees future generations of 509 members access to educational opportunities and professional enrichment,” said Peter MacKinnon, president of SEIU Local 509. “This agreement with Governor Baker underscores a commitment from the Commonwealth to enhance the work of our state members and level the playing field for everyone trying to seek higher education.”
The Commonwealth has committed $5.9 million dollars in funds to SEIU 509 state workers. Of that $5.9 million, $1 million will be distributed to offset student debt and $2 million will be distributed for scholarships for members and their families. The remaining money ($2.9 million) will be used for training for 509 state members. Each year going forward, an additional $738,000 will be added to the training fund.
“Our administration is committed to state employees with important training opportunities that improve their ability to serve the public, and this agreement is another positive step in that direction,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are glad to mark this important agreement that will give human service workers and educators affiliated with SEIU 509 access to valuable professional development resources.”
A trust fund will be established by SEIU 509 and the Commonwealth to oversee scholarships and state worker trainings. A committee from the State and SEIU 509 will determine the criteria for equitable distribution of the funds.