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MVCC Opens Educational Opportunity Center in Utica

MVCC Opens Educational Opportunity Center in Utica

US Representative Richard Hanna R-NY and Mohawk Valley Community College President Randall VanWagoner announced today that the college is opening an Educational Opportunity Center at 524 Elizabeth Street in downtown Utica. They were joined by representatives from Oneida County government, the Workforce Investment Board, the Mohawk Valley Latino Association, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The Educational Opportunity Center is a US Department of Education-funded project to increase enrollment of adults in post-secondary education through community outreach and extensive college preparation services.
“This Center ensures everyone has the opportunity to enter college, and that when they get there, they are prepared to succeed.” said VanWagoner. “Increasing college enrollment puts more people on degree tracks that equip them to take control of the future. We’ve built a program that will start at the individual’s viewpoint, develop solutions to meet those unique goals, and place that person in a learning environment where they are now poised for success and can take that step towards a better life. By starting from this very personal perspective, we are building a stronger community, one student at a time.”
“This center will be instrumental in assisting many non-traditional students with the opportunity of pursuing a higher education degree,” Hanna said. “There is a network of strong regional partnerships working together to make higher education accessible to everyone. It is a privilege to be here today to announce this educational opportunity.”
The MVCC Educational Opportunity Center is located in the Community Education Center at 524 Elizabeth Street, at the intersection with Third Ave., in Utica, at the MVCC Education Center operated jointly by MVCC and Utica’s Municipal Housing Authority. Anyone can sign up as of today. Pre-applications are available at the center or online at www.mvcc.edu. For questions or more information, contact MVCC at (315) 507-2776.
VanWagoner made the announcement backed by strong support from local government and community partners.
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente said, “This investment in education puts our region in a promising place for future economic development. In Oneida County, we are committed to excellence. Building a well educated, local reservoir of talent creates an environment where employers can be confident their business investments will thrive. The Educational Opportunity Center is an exceptional initiative offering the all-important education and training that will enhance our prospects for economic growth.”
Alice Savino, Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board, said: “Education is the key to improving our workforce. Strengthening workers’ essential skills through education gives them the solid foundation they need to advance in the business world. Obtaining a degree in their field is a strong advantage in helping people move up in their profession. With effects that extend from the workplace to personal achievement, building a vibrant workforce can only have a positive effect on the community.”
Sonia Martinez, Chair of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association said: “The project is an opportunity for the community to move forward. Our region has many largely underserved ethnic populations and a large core of low-income areas. These groups need higher education to better their lives. Whatever their individual needs require, this Center provides them with solutions and offers the life-changing access to education.”
Dietra Harvey, Branch President of the NAACP, said: “This community both wants and needs all its members to fulfill their potential.” “There’s a large section of our population that is underserved, and this project is a bridge enabling them to maximize their potential. The college is reaching out through this Center to ensure minorities are offered educational connections, and everyone is given the chance to contribute their unique talents.”
Utica Municipal Housing Authority Executive Director Taras Herbowy said: “When the Housing Authority began its collaboration with MVCC to transform an under-utilized building into this education center, we had a vision of making a difference in the lives of the people of our community. Putting this Educational Opportunity Center there helps fulfill that vision and it helps the neighborhood as well as our entire community. We are proud that the Housing Authority was able to play a role in allowing this project to meet the needs of the people of Utica.”
Services provided by the Center include information on educational opportunities and institutions, with the ultimate goal of placing more people in degree programs. Extensive tutoring prepares people for post-secondary level academics, entrance exams, and meets specific needs such as difficulties in speaking English or obtaining a GED. Heavy academic advisement, mentoring, and personal counseling provide guidance through the higher education system and making informed decisions. Assistance through the application process is provided as well as information and help in applying for financial aid.
“In a time where education is more vital than ever, this project offers people the support they need to get started on the track to higher learning.” said VanWagoner. “There’s been a lot of planning and preparation going into this initiative, and the Educational Opportunity Center is here to open doors of possibility in the region. Education is the bridge that can turn dreams into reality. This Center turns those dreams into reality for a future that begins today.”
The Educational Opportunity Center is an initiative to increase enrollment of adults in college. The project develops connections to place students in a degree program and provides the services needed to ensure those students are prepared to succeed in the academic world. The Center’s programs provide a full range of services to work with the individual through the process of choosing their field, developing connections with the college and financial aid systems, and preparation for academic studies. The Center will make use of extensive community partnerships to connect with individuals who are not currently in college or may never have finished high school, and will serve an estimated 1,000 per year.