Thanks to the generosity of United Way of Erie County’s corporate and funding partners, together, we are making a transformational impact in the lives of students and their families throughout Erie County. Throughout the year we are featuring corporate partners in the Weekly InBrief because we know the business community understands when children fall behind in school the consequences create a ripple effect.
In this issue, we are focusing on one of our longstanding United Way Community School Corporate Partners, Wabtec, who has been aligned with Edison Elementary, a United Way community school since 2017. Wabtec employees have been an invaluable partner to students and teachers at Edison by providing STEM enrichment activities and after school time programs throughout the year, back to school red carpet activities, holiday gifts for students and experiential learning experiences at Wabtec, to name a few.
“We are so grateful for the partnership with Wabtec,” said Diane Sutton, Principal, Edison Elementary. “The generosity of the corporation and individual employees is humbling. We began as partners/colleagues and now understand the relationships as vital to our collective growth. We are grateful for the material goods (supplies for students and teachers), the expanded learning opportunities and exposure to career options through our classroom connections, and mostly for the relationships of care and encouragement built over time between our Edison and Wabtec communities. We are better together!”
Here is a brief Q and A with Christie Drabic, VP Program Management – Freight Equipment, Wabtec Corporation. Christie is also a United Way of Erie County Board Member.
Q. Why did you commit to investing in the Edison community school strategy?
A. Wabtec and its employees are committed to the communities in which we live and work. Making investments in those communities is core to our “Caring for our Communities” Program. To have meaningful, sustainable impact, we take a holistic approach to how we invest in our communities. Wabtec specifically focuses on developing the next generation of innovators and doers and what better place to do that than right outside our largest manufacturing plant in Erie at Edison, a United Way community school. Our investment efforts go far beyond monetary contributions. We explore ways we can amplify our impact by engaging our team members as volunteers and sharing our Wabtec “know-how.” We love partnering with our community school director to bring after-school programming and “connect with a classroom” activities to life.
Q. How does investing upstream in our most precious human capital align with your corporate philosophy to help level the playing field so all children may achieve academically, thus opening doors to unlimited opportunities?
A. Wabtec’s core values include “People First” and “Expanding the Possible.” Investing in the youth in our community, breaking down nonacademic barriers to learning 100% align with these values. We want to expand what is possible for the kids right here in Erie. The partnership between our company, United Way and the Erie School District has been fortified over decades with annual campaigns, educational grants and volunteerism. The community school model amplifies the effectiveness of these investments.