BATAVIA – The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Genesee Community College a grant totaling $2.2 million to help unemployed workers, low-age workers and returning high school and college students enter or continue their education.

The federal TRIO Educational Opportunities Center grant comes in the form of a five-year cycle providing $430,441 each year to the TRIO Adult Educational Opportunity Center at GCC. This grant will help support programming and outreach efforts from the 2021-2022 through the 2025-2026 academic years. It is expected that more than 6,500 adult learners will benefit from the grant.

“Genesee Community College is extremely grateful for the opportunities this grant funding provides for our students and our community members. Our team of expertly trained AEOC team members work hard to maximize the impact our programs and services have for as many individuals as we can reach,” said Dr. Shelitha Williams, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. “It is exciting to see that this work can not only continue, but will now reach even more people in their time of need.”

The TRIO Adult Educational Opportunity Center provides information on college admissions and guidance and services to improve participants’ financial and economic literacy. Among the services are academic and personal counseling, career workshops, information on postsecondary education opportunities, student financial aid and literacy assistance, and help in completing applications for college admissions. TRIO EOC programs offer services to a range of adult learners, including those who are limited English proficient, those who are from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, individuals with disabilities, homeless individuals, youth aging out of the foster care system, formerly incarcerated individuals, and other disconnected students.

The national Educational Opportunity Center program began in 1972 and is part of a set of federal educational opportunity outreach programs known as “TRIO,” which is authorized by the Higher Education Act to help low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed in higher education. In FY20 there were 139 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving more than 192,000 adult learners nationwide.

“As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like EOC take on new importance because they continue to help guide un- and underemployed workers and returning high school and college students towards earning a degree,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C.

COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities nationwide.

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