Article written and submitted by District 947 Communicator Devin Ablard.

People always ask exactly what a Union does. The simple answer is that a union supports you and your family: at work, at home, and yes, even at school. Every June, the International Association of Machinists awards a number of applicants with $1000 a year scholarship for school, and this year, District 947 is proud to have one of the recipients in our own house. Well, she is actually the daughter of Local Lodge 1186 member, Craig Urmanski, an automotive mechanic with UPS.

Lauren Urmanski is an 18-year-old graduate of Paraclete High School in Lancaster who will attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). She was one of 16 recipients this year and one of 14 children of IAM members to receive the honor. She received the award because of her exemplary record as a student in her studies and extracurriculars. She was in Associated Student Government, was President of the Fashion Arts and Fashion Club, and was a part of the Worship Night Team.

FIDM comes with a steep price tag, which led Craig and the family to go on a search for scholarships. In all, Lauren is set to accept $14,500 in scholarships including scholarships from UPS and a merit scholarship from the university for earning a 4.2 Graduating GPA.

“It is our belief that higher education is the foundation of prosperity, and the only way to give our children a chance to secure themselves against poverty, so they in turn may do the same for their families,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen. “Congratulations to this young lady, and her family; we wish them many blessings and a bright future.”

Sal Vasquez, District 947 President/Directing Business Representative, congratulates her on her hard work and is excited that we were able to support her in her journey through school and into the fashion profession. “We want to support union families, especially when they could bring union family values to a new industry like Lauren will. She’s a great kid who comes from a great family, she will go far.”

Her father, Craig, has raised his family with good union values.

“It’s great, how much extra comes from being a union member,” said Craig. “It’s the best piece of advice my dad ever gave me: get a union job!”

Lauren says that she is very grateful for the support and is looking forward to taking the metrolink to school in the fall. Fashion and design have been a passion for her since she was in 7th grade when she learned to sew from the American Sewing Guild. She has sketched several designs and it is clear when discussing it how proud both her parents, Shelly and Craig, really are.

The IAM Scholarship is funded through donations from members across the whole IAM in the U.S. and Canada. It is just one more example of how the Fighting Machinists stick together. “Supporting each other is what we do in the IAM, and to support each other, we need to support each other’s family, which is why I am glad that we have these scholarships available to not only members, but their families as well.”- District Lodge 947 President Sal Vasquez

The official position of the International Association of Machinists is that everyone should have affordable or free access to the education they need to accomplish their goals, and they hope that the students they support today will make that change tomorrow. But until then, we are proud to support our members and their families any way we can.

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