Tyler Willis Wins Union Plus Scholarship

Established in 1991, the Union Plus scholarship supports union families in their endeavors to access higher education. Awarded to union members, spouses, and dependent children, it’s given based on candidates’ academic achievements, commitment to social issues, financial need, and connection to labor values.

This year, $170,000 was awarded to 108 students from 34 different unions.

Tyler Willis of Enumclaw, Washington won a $1,500 scholarship. He’s a nurse technician at Harborview Medical Center and a member of WFSE Local 3488.

Willis is going into the second year of the nursing program at Bellevue College. He applied for the Union Plus scholarship on a hunch.

“During orientation, they mentioned that there were scholarship opportunities available and I just had that feeling in my gut, like, yeah, I should really pursue that!”

When he found out he’d won, Willis was moved.

“Honestly, I cried. I was shocked. I was very grateful. It was during finals when I found out, and I needed good news like that. It came at a really good time,” he said.

A union member for the past six years, Willis has big dreams for his future.

“After this last quarter, I realized I have a passion for teaching, and while I’m in school for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I would like to become an instructor for a Certified Nurse Assistant program at Bellevue College. I definitely see higher education, like post graduate work, some day.”

Willis is as passionate about union membership as he is about nursing.

“Unions are responsible for every worker’s right that we have today. I know very few nurses that are not pro union,” he said.

“I personally support unions because everyone’s voice as one is so much more powerful than a bunch of individuals all clamoring for different things. When we all get together, change happens, and it has happened, and it continues to happen,” Willis continued. 

“I recommend joining the union to anybody. The union is very empowering.”

Bios of all scholarship winners are available online.

The application deadline for the 2020 Union Plus scholarship application is January 31, 2020. Applications are opening soon and can be accessed on the Union Plus site. For even more union scholarships, visit the AFSCME Advantage scholarship page.