BCC’s Educational Opportunity Center Receives 300K State Grant

Funds will be used to prepare food stamp recipients for the workplace.

November 7, 2012 — Some of New York City’s most disadvantaged citizens now have a new path to a respected profession and financial self-sufficiency.

The Bronx Educational Opportunity Center, an academic skills and job preparation program administered by Bronx Community College, has been awarded a $295,250 grant from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. The money will provide education and training for 275 under- and-unemployed Bronx residents, 24 years old or younger, who currently receive aid from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.

This is the largest grant that the Bronx EOC has received in its 22 years of operation. It will fund a spectrum of programs, depending on the student’s level of experience, including English as a Second Language classes, preparation for the General Educational Development (GED) high school equivalency exam, and vocational training to become a medical assistant or a direct support professional who works with the mentally and developmentally disabled. These are specialties in great demand in the Bronx, the county with the highest unemployment rate in New York State.

“Our hope is that this money will allow us to reopen in the evenings,” explains Stephen H. Adolphus, the EOC’s executive director for the past two years. “We had to stop doing that, and many in our population have characteristics that make it easier for them to go to school at night rather than during the day–taking care of kids, taking care of elderly people, working part-time jobs.”

The program will be held at the EOC’s 40,000 square-foot, two-story building in the Bathgate Industrial Park in the east Bronx. It will serve both current EOC students and new students recommended by city and state agencies.

The Bronx EOC, one of ten such organizations in impoverished urban areas around the state, received the grant after a statewide competition. Adolphus credits the efforts of Maher Mobasher of the EOC’s development office for helping to obtain the funds.

“The beauty of this is that it is renewable for three more years, provided we do a reasonable job,” observes Adolphus. This can result in more than a million dollars in potential state support.

“It’s a shot in the arm for us.”

About Bronx Community College

Bronx Community College of The City University of New York offers more than thirty academic programs that prepare students for careers and to continue their education at four-year colleges. Located on a 43-acre, tree-lined campus, BCC is home to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, the country’s first hall of fame. In October of this year, the BCC campus was designated a National Historic Landmark. The college provides its approximately 11,500 students with quality academic programs, outstanding faculty, and flexible class schedules. Students at BCC represent more than 100 countries from around the world. For more information about Bronx Community College, visit www.bcc.cuny.edu.