SMART Education: Evolving TRAINING EXPANDS TOPICS AND REACH FOR “CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT” ev·o·lu·tion — noun The gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form. The SMART Education team has been hard at work during the first half of 2017, delivering an ever-expanding range of training to members and their representatives throughout the U.S. and Canada. The concept of evolution isn’t a new one for the Department of Education. Rather, it has been a cornerstone in the department’s concerted effort to bring new content and greater value to the people and Union it serves. Our education program runs a wide range of training classes, from steward and communication skills to Union-building and peer-to-peer assistance. All of the classes stem from the department’s mission statement (box), which reads in part, “a team of dedicated trade Unionists working for the continuous improvement of all educational programs for SMART Members.” Concepts and pragmatism The “Building Our Union” class is a great example of this philosophy, addressing the issues that arise where basic organizing meets leadership and culture change. As our industry and our Union evolve, this important dynamic has been a barrier to growth across the generations. This combination of subject matter—organizing, leadership and culture—becomes a powerful trinity right from the first session. The course, by linking pragmatic tactics to concepts of organizational “personality,” takes Union organizing to a higher level. Another great example of how SMART education is evolving can be found in the quickly expanding training in our SMART MAP program. SMART MAP began as an awareness campaign focusing on chemical dependency and suicide and has matured into concentrated training in Local Unions. SMART MAP training empowers members who can work, as peers, helping other members on vital but often deeply personal issues. The peer training shows members how to help others find the resources they need—and, most important, the support, which is essential—during some of the most difficult moments in their lives. Members helping other members: this is what our Union does best! MISSION STATEMENT “The Department of Education is a team of dedicated trade Unionists working for the continuous improvement of training and instructive services for all SMART members. Through organizing, communication and leadership training we are determined to make a positive difference in the labor movement by providing exceptional educational programs to our elected and appointed leadership so they in turn can provide the outstanding representation their membership deserves.”
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