In addition to developing exemplary skills and safety training curriculum and techniques, the iFTI also facilitates college degree opportunities for IUPAT members in the United States. Through various partnerships with education institutions across the U.S., members have the opportunity to earn associate degrees up to Masters degrees with the assistance of the iFTI and IUPAT.
There are many reasons members work to earn their degrees, but for Costas “Gus” Diamantis, director of Apprenticeship & Training for Finishing Trades Institute of New York, DC9, it was his ambition to better serve the members of the IUPAT. Diamantis, a bridge painter by craft, received his Masters of Business Administration from SUNY Empire State College (Saratoga Springs, New York) in 2020.
“There is so much going on in our organizations, and so many new directions, opportunities, and threats, that I thought we could and should do more to meet them,” explained Diamantis. “Experience and commitment are great motivators, but I felt we needed some tools to help get our message across and become as efficient as possible with resources we had at hand. Too many families rely on us between members, staff, communities, related, and support industries that I felt with the guidance and support of our BM/ST Joe Azzopardi and President John Drew, we needed to increase our formal training to ensure we were providing the best services we could for all of our futures. And, as tradespeople, a reliable new tool is worth pursuing and mastering if it will help accomplish our jobs more efficiently.”
He credits the assistance of the iFTI and IUPAT for allowing him the opportunity to earn his degree, and says the challenge was well worth it. He also encourages his fellow members to consider benefits of earning a degree. “I’m a strong believer in constantly learning and anything you learn to better yourself and our Union, even just a little better, makes a big difference.”
Interested in learning more about earning a degree through our iFTI and IUPAT school partnerships? Contact your FTI.