Personal Stories

“I have been employed with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) for more than 20 years.  Following my probationary period as a secretary, I enrolled in the educational assistance program.  Initially, I started out taking one course per semester and progressed to two or more courses a semester, as well as attending class during the summer.  Upon graduation from Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) with an Associates Degree, I transferred all of my credits to the University of Maryland University College, where I received a Bachelor of Arts Degree.  Following graduation I pursued a Masters Degree, and have completed several graduate courses.  This learning opportunity was made possible by the WSSC Employee Educational Assistance Program.  I pursued every available program — regular educational assistance, consent decree, and the scholarship program.  Through hard work and determination I earned a four-year college degree + completed additional graduate coursework.  This enabled me to compete for promotional opportunities, and I am proud that I have risen from the administrative to the managerial ranks of the agency.  And, I continue to attend workshops, seminars, and conferences to add to my professional development.  The WSSC Educational Assistance Program is a tremendous benefit and is the key component to my professional advancement.    In my opinion, all business should have an employer sponsored education assistance program.  It can be used as an  invaluable tool to recruit and maintain a learned workforce.”


Sylvia J. Anderson

Outreach Coordinator – Diversity Initiatives

Communications & Community Relations Office

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)



“As a benefit I’ve enjoyed through this program from a former employer, it has allowed me the opportunity to complete my Bachelors degree, to obtain a position in the H.R. field and to advance my career to the extent that I have achieved so far.  Currently I am the distributor relations director for a local bread company and have been with this company for almost 5 years.  Without access to company tuition reimbursement, (the employee tuition assistance program) I would not have been able to complete my undergraduate degree and probably would not have achieved the success that I have attained so far.  Not only was this program instrumental to my educational success but also has allowed me to be a more productive citizen and tax payer.

I have also been able to give back to my community by participating in the Saturday Academy program which assists inner city youth in Baltimore, MD with math, reading and character programs.  This is an after school and Saturday program that is sponsored by HOPE Worldwide.  Again, without Section 127, I would not have been able to advance my career to the point where I could or would be willing to give back.  There are many others that I know who have also taken advantage of this great program as well.

I also would like to see this valuable benefit continued so that others may take advantage of it.  I can see the benefits of this being a stand-alone bill and not being one that has to be renewed or extended periodically.  I certainly know how important it is for our children to receive great education but as we become adults we need that same benefit for continuing our education as it becomes a bigger focus as we enter a more mature point in our lives.  Thanks to Section 127, I am grateful for my advanced adult education!”


Eric F. Maholmes
Director of Distributor Relations
FBC of Lynchburg, LLC



“Our company provides up to $4000 a year for tuition assistance.  Approximately 40% of our workforce are former military.  With the GI Bill and our tuition assistance, they are better able to afford the high cost of completing a degree.  Since 2007 we have assisted 14 employees, or approximately 6% of our workforce, with their goal of receiving a bachelors and/or masters degree.  Since 85% of our positions are in the professional classification, attaining a degree has resulted in promotions and higher salaries for many of our employees.”


Michelle Friesenhahn, SPHR
Vice President Human Resources

Ultra Electronics





“I have been in the workforce since 1982 and have been an HR professional since 1996.  I have been both the recipient of employer provided education assistance and the administrator of the benefit for several companies that I have worked for.


When I first joined the work force as a legal secretary, I made too much money to qualify for financial aid for college tuition but I didn’t make enough money to realistically pay for the classes on my own.  Having employer-sponsored programs filled this gap for me and continues to fill this gap for many other people in the same situation.  It afforded me the opportunity to get my associates degree as well as my certification in HR.


As an administrator of the tuition reimbursement program, it’s been my experience that many employees will join a company for this benefit even if the work isn’t in their field of interest.  They will take a position as a finance clerk, for example, but pursue a degree or certification in engineering or computer science.  It is an excellent recruiting tool for employers and benefit for employees.This benefit has been instrumental in my career advancement and without Section 127, I would not have a degree or certification or be at the professional level I’m at today.  And this same sentiment has been expressed to me by many people I have helped receive this benefit from the companies I’ve worked for.”


Randi M. Riccardo, PHR


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