Priscilla Puente – #VoicesofJAF

July 22, 2016 by mitchellcohen

“I hope this honor helps shine a light on the important work of Bridge Over Troubled Water, whose mission is really the same as our mission as a union. They want to break the cycle of domestic violence, and we’re actually helping do that by helping people help themselves. We’ve shown that if you give someone in need a family-sustaining job, you change their life.”

Priscilla Puente, an oil refinery worker and member of USW Local 227 in Pasadena, Texas, Priscilla started a scholarships that gives women the chance to financial independence in order to escape domestic violence. Priscilla works with The Bridge Over Troubled Waters (TBOTW) and partnered with the Women of Steel, an activist branch of her union.

In June she won a Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Employee.

The scholarship allows the recipient to receive a certificate in one of the following fields: process, instrumentation and analyzer technologies. In addition, she created a support team to help women succeed in completing their certificate and securing apprenticeships. Priscilla believes the most important thing these women receive through the scholarship is confidence through independence, which will be carried on through generations.

Upon accepting her award, Priscilla said, “The women I meet at the Bridge Over Troubled Waters, they’re all looking for one thing. And that’s independence from violence. This scholarship gives women hope, and when they get their job, it gives them an economic freedom from their abusers. When you see them, when you see the look in their eyes when you you’re telling them they’ve won the scholarship, they’re envisioning their whole lives changing. It’s inspiring.”

United Steelworkers is a Champion of the Jefferson Awards Foundation.

Donate today to honor more heroes who deserve recognition and inspire more Americans than ever before to engage in public service. 


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