From Our Own Backyard: James Ribley, Esquire

When Jim Ribley’s wife passed away in 2003, life suddenly, as you can imagine, became a struggle. He knew he needed a spark to help get things turned around.

So fate intervened.

“I was at work and saw a flyer for ICD on a table,” Ribley said. “I knew I needed something to help occupy my mind and I figured, ‘This could work.’ “

So, using his Tuition Assistance benefit available to him through Career Development, the USW Local 68 member started taking classes at a local junior college.

To say it worked out is an understatement.

After taking the first steps 14 years ago, Ribley just recently passed the state bar exam in Missouri after earning his law degree from St. Louis University in May of 2016. He was sworn in by the Missouri Supreme Court in April of this year.

“I saw that flyer at exactly the right time in my life,” Ribley said.

A Steelworker for more than 40 years, Ribley has some specific plans for his post-retirement future, whenever that will be.

“I am in the process of trying to set up a law practice,” he said. “I want to work with veterans. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for veterans.”

That’s because he is one.

Ribley spent four years in the United States Marines Corp out of high school and fully expected to pursue a college education, but as it happens, life took over and those plans got put on hold.

“I guess in the back of my mind I always knew I would go back,” he said. “Once I started back, I just kept going. I didn’t want to stop.”

Ribley has applied to the Department of Veterans Affairs for accreditation to counsel and advise veterans. Now he hopes to be able to take what he’s learned to make a difference for fellow veterans.

Just as Career Development has made a difference in his life.

“It was extremely helpful,” Ribley said. “ICD was a huge part of the process and a huge part of my success.”

He specifically credits former ICD Coordinator Linda Bardelmeier and current Coordinator Marshall McElroy for the encouragement and help along the way.

“It’s one of those things that when you start it, it’s so far out there that I couldn’t imagine it,” Ribley said.


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  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 12 July / 6 Comments
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Fun times during L.O.W.!

As the inaugural Learning Opportunities Week wraps up, we want to thank everyone involved for all their support.

You all have gone above and beyond what we expected -- no surprise -- and I think what we found is that we can all have a little bit of fun while at the same time accomplishing our mission.


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  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 16 June / 0 Comments
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Fayetteville LJC member makes L.O.W. video

As we've said before, one of the truly gratifying aspects of introducing Learning Opportunities Week is seeing all the different and impressive ways programs have gone about achieving their objective of showcasing all of the exceptional opportunities available to Steelworkers through the Career Development benefit.

And here's another one:

Donna Atkins, an LJC member from the USW/Goodyear-Fayetteville Career Development Program, had her own idea.

She took the skills she learned in a CDP class -- How to Use Your Ipad -- and created an iMovie for L.O.W. The video was then played on monitors inside the plant to let all the members know about Learning Opportunities Week and ICD.

Great job, Donna, and thanks for sharing it with us!

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  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 15 June / 0 Comments
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The company perspective

Learning Opportunities Week was created when ICD Advisory Board member Mark Langbehn came to us and asked if there was a way to incorporate the national ICD program into ArcelorMittal's annual Learning Week, which is also this week.

The company tabs its Learning Week as "a yearly reminder of the importance of learning and development for the company and its employees."

After throwing around some ideas, we took the concept of Learning Opportunities Week to our Boards, which approved it at last year's National Conference, and here we are.

Many of you have taken off and hit the ground running this week, and we are very happy with the response. It's been above and beyond what we imagined for the first year.

So in the spirit of Learning Week, AND Learning Opportunities Week, here's a short video produced by ArcelorMittal. You may spot some familiar faces.

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  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 14 June / 2 Comments
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L.O.W. across the country

It's hard to imagine a better response to the inaugural Learning Opportunities Week than has been put forth by all the programs from coast to coast.

If you wonder what your colleagues have up this week, the Photo Gallery attached to this post has some good information.

And if you have a flyer that you would like to have included, please forward it to your Program Specialist.

We realize these flyers do not encompass all your impressive efforts but it does give a nice representation of what's going on. And it's only Tuesday!

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  • Posted by shayden / Posted on 12 June / 1 Comments
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