What Is The Charles S. Ensley Scholarship Fund?


Charles Ensley Scholarship Fund

Charles S. Ensley Scholarship Fund is formed for SSEU Local 371 members pursuing higher degrees in the labor studies. The scholarship fund will provide members with the opportunity to train their abilities, which can serve to strengthen the Union.

in January 2014, SSEU Local 371 honored our late president Charles S. Ensley who served as our Union's chief executive officer for 26 years through the creation of an annual scholarship fundraising event. The event, which was held Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 raised funds for scholarships for eligible members to pursue degrees in Labor Studies.

Charles Ensley grew up in the midst of the civil rights movements where he was an active student at Howard University protesting the injustice that prevailed. Speaking about himself and his friends during this time, Mr. Ensley once said, "We had a social vision, many of us, rather than career goals."

In 1964, Mr. Ensley moved to New York and began to work for the City of New York as a Caseworker in 1965 in the old Welfare Department soon after the welfare strike. From there, Mr. Ensley worked in various sessions of the union from grievance rep to working for the union's welfare fund before becoming president in 1982 with a landslide vote. His presidency marks a strong moment for our union. Ensley made it a priority to visit members in the field even when he was not campaigning for reelection. He once told the Chief newspaper that he felt, "there's no reason for a union officer to become insulated from that rank-and-file contact."

Honoring the Late Charles Ensley

Charles Ensley, who led the Social Service Employees Union Local 371, AFSCME, AFL-CIO (“the Union”) as its president for two decades and became one of New York City’s most militant and charismatic labor leaders, remains a spiritual guiding presence and influence in the Union today.  Charles Ensley’s vision of the labor movement was unique.  He led the Union to fight not just for fair pay and working conditions, but to advocate for civil and human rights and dignity within and also outside of the workplace.  He believed strongly in education and self-betterment. 

United and dedicated to honoring the mission and legacy of Charles Ensley, the Service Employees Union Local 371 Educational Fund (“Educational Fund”) administers the Charles Ensley Scholarship. It is an ongoing program for active members in good standing of the who wish to pursue an education in the field of labor studies. 

The Program

The Charles Ensley Scholarship is a one-time annual scholarship in the amount of $2,500 which will be awarded to members of the Union who have been accepted to the Murphy Institute of the CUNY School of Professional Studies (“Murphy Institute”) in any of the following programs: Certificate in Labor Studies, Advanced Certificate in Labor Studies or 30-credit Master’s Degree in Labor Studies. Descriptions of these programs can be obtained from their website at sps.cuny.edu/labor programs. 

This scholarship is designed to be a source of financial assistance to defray some of the tuition costs.