The United Way and Erie-area union leaders celebrated of labor and student excellence Saturday during 52nd annual Community Service Awards Banquet at Siebenbuerger Club.

Leaders handed out three scholarships to area students.

The banquet also recognized how organized labor works together with the region to help the region.

Organizers said it's noticeable right now with some major construction and expansion projects underway in the Erie area.

"It's great for organized labor," said Ron Oliver, labor liaison for the United Way of Erie County. "It's great for the building trade. It's great for the community to put people back in jobs. Erie is changing is as a whole, and we need to that happen going forward."

The groups honored Erie City Councilman Bob Merski and United Steelworkers Secretary Mark Norton for their outstanding commitment to Erie County.