Each time, professor Henry Jajuga presents in front of a new group of students, he’s transported back in time to 1999 when he sat in one of those same seats and made the decision to finish his degree.
Back then, he was a crane operator and union representative attending a training offered by the Rail Workers Hazardous Material Training Program.
From Student to Teacher
What he didn’t know when he enrolled for his first course was that he’d become the Director of the Center for Excellence in Health and Safety at National Labor College, which includes the Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program at NLC and the National Resource Center for OSHA training consortium center at NLC.
Knowing the challenge of juggling work, education, family responsibilities and union advocacy allows me a deeper connection to the feelings of respect, admiration and pride that I sense when I meet the eyes of another brother or sister who has opted to ‘walk this mile.’
Read more about the Hands-on Hazmat simulation trainings
or about one of the inspirational Hazmat students.
A History of Union Service
Henry had begun his railroad career in 1979 and by 1983 was a crane operator represented by the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (sic) traveling extensively in the western United States.
Having held several union positions for BMWED Local 227, including President and District Chairperson, Henry understands the challenges of his students and the demands on their time.
“In at least this instance I have a full understanding of the proverbial saying of ‘walking a mile in a another man’s shoes,’” says Henry.
NLC Training Puts Him Back on Track
Henry decided to go back to school because he had always wanted to finish his degree, but other life responsibilities had detoured him. Plus two of his children were on the verge of finishing high school and he wanted to set an example for them.
Two years later, his family watched him cross the stage to receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Labor Safety and Health from NLC. In 2005 he crossed that same stage to receive his Master’s in Legal and Ethical Studies from the University of Baltimore/NLC partner program.
Although it’s challenging it is equally rewarding, and along the way you gain a deeper understanding of the union movement, union member and being a union advocate.
“Finishing your degree at NLC is an excellent learning opportunity that provides education from a union perspective,” says Henry.
Learn more about the NLC Bachelor’s degree in Labor Safety and Health.
Visit the Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program site at www.hazmatgmc.org