Rosie Boucard holds his bachelor’s degree he recently completed with a tuition assistance benefit through the NYS & CSEA Partnership for Education and Training.

THIELLS — Rosie Boucard was sitting in Hudson Valley DDSO’s new employee orientation in 2016 when now Hudson Valley DDSO Local President Carole Jeannot spoke with workers about the benefits of joining CSEA.

One benefit in particular stood out to Boucard. It’s since helped him achieve a personal milestone.

Thanks to tuition assistance offered to state division members through the NYS & CSEA Partnership for Education and Training, Boucard recently completed a bachelor’s degree in world languages through Empire State University.

“I want to say thank you to CSEA,” said Boucard. “The CSEA benefits paid for my school. It took time, but that financial assistance was very helpful.”

Boucard, a direct support assistant, had already taken part-time classes at Rockland Community College (RCC). Once he started at Hudson Valley DDSO and learned tuition assistance was one of many benefits offered through our union, he was even more determined to finish college.

A native of Haiti who taught Spanish and English before coming to the United States, Boucard has a knack for languages. While he initially considered a nursing degree, his college adviser suggested he capitalize on his proficiency in Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and English. Now Boucard hopes to earn a master’s degree and become a teacher of English as a second language (TESOL).

“I want to be a foreign language teacher and use my skills to help people,” said Boucard, noting that Rockland County has a large number of people who primarily speak Haitian Creole and Spanish. “I also want to volunteer in our communities here where parents are working several jobs and need some support. Having translators available is important.”

Working in direct care, Boucard said it can be challenging for workers to find time to further their education. He took classes as time permitted beginning in 2011 at RCC, also juggling a part-time job and family responsibilities. It took him longer than a full-time college student, but Boucard said the payoff was worth it.

Boucard said he uses his experience with the Partnership to encourage people to consider a CSEA-represented state job such as his. Not only did he take advantage of the tuition benefits, Boucard also opened a 403(b) plan with New York State Deferred Compensation and has used other member benefits our union offers as a result of his new employee orientation.

“These benefits are a good way to attract people to our union,” said Boucard. “People should know that our union is not only here to resolve conflicts, but to help workers have better educations and give us opportunities to be better members of society.”

— Jessica Ladlee


About Author

Jessica Ladlee is the communications specialist for CSEA's Southern Region. A graduate of Boston University, Ladlee is an award-winning journalist who worked as a newspaper editor before joining the CSEA communications team in 2004. She is passionate about the opportunities unions provide for people to join the middle class, something her grandmother did as a Rockland County CSEA member over 50 years ago.

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