A Manassas Park firefighter for more than two years, Todd Lupton, 24, is looking forward to receiving an associate’s degree in Emergency Medical Services Technology from Northern Virginia Community College.
“It broadens your spectrum of skills,” he said. “And it gives you a better edge in competition when you’re going for a promotion, seeking to move up through the ranks.”
Lupton says the more than $1,000 per semester in tuition and book costs would have been impossible for him to pay, if not for aid he received from Manassas Park’s government.
For some years, the city has helped pay for college and training expenses related to an employee’s job.
Last week, the City Council voted 5-0 to expand the program to include anything that might further a city worker’s overall education. Mayor William J. Treuting Jr. and Councilwoman Vonna L.please change style guide to replace “I” with “L” Privett were absent from the meeting.
City employees will now be able to receive up to $1,800 per year for tuition or training expenses. Another $100 per month will be available for workers seeking to learn Spanish, Portuguese or sign language.
“We’re recognizing how important our employees are,” said Vice Mayor Kevin P. Brendel. “And where we can provide additional benefits, we certainly want to do so.”
The city is estimating that the tuition reimbursement program will cost $10,000 to $12,000 per year. The language program will cost another $8,000 per year.
Manassas Park’s supplementing of employee tuition is now more relaxed than in Manassas, where courses and tuition must be job-related. Manassas gives up to $1,500 per year to city employees seeking undergraduate degrees. Graduate students receive up to $1,800 per year.
By expanding the education benefit, Manassas Park government is showing its employees that it cares for their well-being, Lupton said.
“It’s definitely a great improvement to the benefits program that the city did in changing the tuition assistance program,” he said.
Staff writer Chris Newmarker can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 119.