Single Mom on Her Way to Achieving Lifelong Dream

Since her days in grade school, Lorraine Llauger has had her heart set on earning a college degree. Though she went to a college preparatory school while growing up in New York, until recently it looked like she’d never achieve her dream.

“I joined the Army and I didn’t go to college. Even though you can accomplish in other ways in life, I’ve always wanted to have that degree,” Llauger emphasizes.
Llauger, of Kissimmee, Florida, is now a journeyman electrician and a longtime member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 606 in Orlando. In addition to her full-time job, she’s also a single mom raising two children on her own, leaving her little time and resources to take college classes.

“I never thought I’d be going to college. I thought, where am I going to find the time? I can’t go off to a campus,” she reflects.

Llauger resigned herself to setting aside her education goals, perhaps permanently, until one day her coworker mentioned the Union Plus Free College Program. Within weeks, Llauger was registered and taking classes online.

“I have never taken college courses, so it’s like an awesome, fresh start for me,” she says.

The Union Plus Free College Program partners with AFSCME and Eastern Gateway Community College to offer online courses and degree programs with no out of pocket cost to active or retired union members and their eligible family members, including spouses, domestic partners, children (including stepchildren and children-in-law), financial dependents and grandchildren.

Llauger is now working towards an associate degree in Business Management and is on her way to attaining her longest-standing goal. She especially appreciates the ability to take classes and do her work on her own time, anywhere.

“My favorite thing is that I can be anywhere where there is internet. I can bring my computer and go somewhere like Starbucks to do work, I don’t have to do it at home,” Llauger enthuses. “For Union Plus to provide an online course, free, that’s amazing.”

Of the coursework, Llauger notes that the balance between flexibility and work put in is realistic.

“The classes are broken down so they don’t give you too much work at one time. You’re not overloaded and you can go at your own pace, but you still have to be responsible and do the work.”

Llauger is in “a good place” with her current job and doesn’t know what comes next for her, but she is hopeful that having this degree under her belt will help her achieve any future goals she sets, including getting a bachelor’s degree.

“More doors will open,” she says. “I’m not married, I’m a single parent, so it’s even more exciting that I can advance myself with this program.”
Llauger also has a message for her brothers and sisters at IBEW and other union members: “I definitely recommend the Union Plus Free College program. A lot of people entering the trades never thought they could make it to college. And getting this opportunity – you know, a lot of us are single parents – this makes everything so much simpler.”

To learn more about the Union Plus Free College Program, visit www.unionplusfreecollege.org or call 888-590-9009.

Editor Contact: Catherine Heyward, cheyward@unionplus.org or (202) 778-9818 Union Plus 1100 First Street, NE, Suite 850  Washington, D.C. 20002 Phone (202) 293-5330 www.UnionPlus.org

L. Llauger