USW families among those awarded $300,000 in Union Plus scholarships

We're so proud of the USW families who won this year's scholarships from Union Plus, which awarded $300,000 to 215 students representing 43 unions.
This year’s group of scholarship recipients includes university, college, and trade or technical school students from 38 states. The USW winners are:
  • Cassidy Black of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Black, whose father, Gary Black, is a member of USW Local 2635-09, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
  • Mikayla Lipscomb of Seale, Alabama. Lipscomb, whose father, Darwin Lipscomb, is a member of USW Local 98M, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
  • Zachary Powell of Finleyville, Pennsylvania. Powell, whose father, Albert Powell, is a member of USW Local 14693, has been awarded a $1,500 scholarship. 
“Union Plus is proud to be able to increase our scholarship award amount this year and help more union families than ever before,” Union Plus President Mitch Stevens said. “At a time when many families have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are especially glad to support this year’s group of 215 hardworking students as they further their educations and pave the path for future success.”

Meet Some of the 2020 USW Honorees

Mikayla Lipscomb, Russell County High School (RCHS), Seale, Alabama (2020)
Mikayla will attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) as a psychology major. She feels a great sense of compassion and concern for those in need of mental health support and hopes to become a board-certified psychiatrist. Mikayla completed several AP and dual-enrollment courses in high school to expedite her undergraduate timeline. Russell County Board of Education Superintendent Brenda Corley, Ed.D., said Mikayla is a model student who is ambitious, highly competent, and hardworking. “As early as her primary school years, Mikayla’s enthusiasm, creativity, and leadership skills set her apart from her peers,” Corley said. “I have witnessed her ability to work diligently with her peers, teachers, and within the community. 
I have great respect for her as an individual and as a valuable citizen to our society.”
Activities, honors and employment: National Honor Society; GearUP Alabama/University of Montevallo Discovery Leadership Program; RCHS A/B Honor Roll; RCHS marching, concert bands; UAB Academic Achievement Scholarship; United Way Youth Council Community Service Award; The Citizen of East Alabama Young Citizen Award
Volunteerism: United Way Youth Council (Feeding the Valley food bank, Safe House, Girls Inc., Easter Seals, Columbus Hospice, Christmas toy drive); Body of Christ International Church’s Flint, Michigan Clean Water Project
Zachary Powell, Ringgold High School (RHS), Monongahela, Pennsylvania (2020)
Zach plans to attend a trade or technical school as an aviation maintenance and electronics major. He hopes to earn a pilot’s license while pursuing his degree and working in the field, a choice that he believes will give him occupational flexibility. RHS English Department Head Rhonda Baertsch, who worked with Zach on the yearbook, said, “Zach has a unique way of inspiring others to rise to his level of ambition and generosity. If something doesn’t turn out the way he wanted it, he takes it in stride and learns from the experience.”
Zach said his father’s USW membership has been a blessing to their family. “USW has provided him with a competitive wage, good health insurance, steady work, seniority rights, and—most of all—a safe environment,” Zach said. “The machines used in his line of work can be very dangerous. My dad has been a part of the safety team for many years since the company really listens to input from union employees.”
Activities and honors: RHS marching band; RHS yearbook staff; RHS varsity cross country, tennis, track and field; RHS Outdoor Adventure Club; Eagle Scout; Boy Scouts of America Florida Sea Base
Learn More About the Union Plus Scholarship Program
The Union Plus Scholarship Program, now in its 29th year, awards scholarships based on outstanding academic achievement, personal character, financial need, and commitment to the values of organized labor. The program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation.
Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded more than $4.8 million in educational funding to more than 3,200 union members, spouses, and dependent children. Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school, or recognized technical or trade school. The selection process is very competitive, and this year over 6,300 applications were received from 68 unions and all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, two U.S. territories, and six Canadian provinces.
Visit for applications and benefit eligibility.
About Union Plus
Union Plus, founded by the AFL-CIO in 1986, uses the collective buying power of America’s 12.5 million union members to deliver top-quality benefits and services at competitive prices to working families. In addition to the scholarship program, Union Plus offers the Free College program, which makes it possible for union members and their families to earn an associate degree completely online at no cost. As a complement to the Free College program, Union Plus offers the new Bachelor’s Degree Completion program, providing union members and their families a low-cost option to complete their bachelor’s degree completely online. Union Plus also provides a wide range of money-saving programs, including discounts on wireless services from AT&T, the only nationwide unionized wireless carrier; insurance protection; savings on travel and recreation; and more. For additional information, visit

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