Participants in the new Upward Mobility Program will be chosen soon from the members of the support staff across the country who submitted applications. This program was negotiated by Chapter 293 in our most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, and it will provide an opportunity for participating employees to perform higher graded duties at the agency, increasing their experience as well as their salaries. Chapter 293 believes that this program will have a positive effect on employees, encouraging them to achieve higher education and learning.
The Union’s Upward Mobility Committee, consisting of Chapter 293 Vice President Veronica Lewis, Tia Coulter, Turetha Harris, Kim Harvell and Susann Reilly, have made remarkable efforts to work with management since early 2008 to hammer out the details of this important program. From the beginning, these five women have viewed the Upward Mobility Program as a significant opportunity for employees.
The Union recently communicated with the committee about their experiences helping to set up this program, which were uniformly positive. Turetha Harris, for example, believes that the program will provide a fresh start not only for the participating employees, but for their families as well. And Kim White-Harvell said that she viewed her participation on the Committee as an uplifting experience. “For me, working on the committee made me feel proud that I was a part of something meaningful. And with all the hard work we put into it, I hope that this program continues on.”
Tia Coulter noted that “the Upward Mobility Program is not just important – but a needed instrument in government agencies, especially the SEC, to afford employees in lower grade levels the opportunity to explore other career areas within the government.” She also said that “careers, government-wide, do not stop in the mail room or in an administrative position. But here at the SEC, training stops at computer applications. Although applications are always evolving, there are so many other training programs that should be open to lower grade levels outside of what their job description entails.”
Similarly, Susann Reilly indicated that she became involved “because I believe that those SEC employees who have demonstrated, through hard work, the talent and motivation to be highly successful in their current positions should have the opportunity to compete for certain positions selected by the Upward Mobility Program even though they do not currently have the formal credentials.” She saw a connection between this program and the important goal of fostering a positive work environment: “ When the agency, through the Upward Mobility Program, provides these individuals with the help needed to acquire the skills and the formal credentials for a better position, it demonstrates to the entire SEC staff that this agency recognizes, values and rewards its employees’ unusual efforts and accomplishments.”
Committee Chairman Veronica Lewis is hopeful that this program will succeed and that the SEC will come to view it as a vital tool that should be expanded. “It’s a new beginning with significant opportunities for employees at lower grades,” she said.