Contest Winners Highlight Impact of Popular Employee Education Benefit

Jan 27, 2011

HR professionals from Kansas, Utah and Michigan win “Speak Out on Section 127” contest

Alexandria, Va. – Three human resource professionals today won the first “Speak Out on Section 127” video contest which challenged entrants to describe how a popular employee education benefit affected their workforce and their own careers.

The winners are: Dale Powers, SPHR, visiting professor of management, Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kan.; Reece Ivins, HR generalist, Mountain America Credit Union, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Katie Claya, PHR, account executive, Edcor Data Services, LLC, Troy, Mich.

Sponsored by the Coalition to Preserve Employer Provided Education Assistance (CPEPEA), the contest encouraged employers and employees tosubmit videos explaining why employer provided education assistance is an essential benefit to them and the workplace. Videos from HR professionals across the country were submitted showing personal testimonies and sharing the importance of the education benefit to both employees and employers.

“I appreciate CPEPEA’s efforts to get the word out about employer provided education assistance,” Powers said. “This benefit is an important tool for investing in the future of our workforce, and I am honored to help speak out on behalf of employees across the country who work hard and study hard every day.”

Nearly one million American employees use Section 127, which allows employees to exclude from income up to $5,250 a year in employer-provided tuition assistance for undergraduate and graduate-level courses.

“The Coalition to Preserve Employer Provided Education Assistance is thrilled to sponsor a contest that showcases how employer provided education assistance changes the lives of employees,” said Kathleen A. Coulombe, manager of tax and benefits at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “The winners represent varying perspectives on the benefit and collectively tell the story of why Section 127 needs to be a permanent component of the tax code.”

The coalition, led SHRM, began the contest in late 2010 as part of a campaign to make employer provided education assistance a permanent provision of the U.S. tax code. Employer provided education assistance, also known as Section 127, was extended for two years as part of the tax-cut compromise passed by Congress in December 2010.

“Although this benefit was extended for a two-year period, it still faces an uncertain fate, which makes the voices of these HR professionals and the messages in these videos that much more important,” Coulombe said.

To see the top 20 contestants’ videos, visit:


About the Coalition to Preserve Employer Provided Education

The Coalition to Preserve Employer Provided Education Assistance is a broad-based group of organizations, companies and associations dedicated to ensuring the tax protection of employees who wish to take advantage of an employer’s tuition assistance program. Visit CPEPEA at

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at Follow us on Twitter at: SHRMPress.


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