Educational Opportunity Centers … A federal program engaging and developing the low-income workforce through education and training ... Presented by: Dara Ware Allen, Diane Athanas, Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University
Program Background Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) The Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program is a federal TRIO program. Initiated in 1972, EOCs provide information, admissions and financial aid assistance, and career counseling to help adults, age 19 and older, begin or continue a program of postsecondary education. EOCs serve low income, potential first generation college students who are US Citizens. 2002 Statistics Total Number of Participants: 217,836 Total Funding: $48,011,331 Average Cost per Participant: $220
Program Background About TRIO A series of educational support programs called TRIO emerged from the United States Department of Education (USDE) in 1964 as a result of former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty legislation. Initially three programs, hence the name TRIO was coined, they were designed to assist low-income individuals whose parents did not graduate from college to access higher education in efforts to break social, economic, and cultural barriers. TRIO has now expanded to include the following programs: • Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs • Educational Opportunity Centers • Veterans Upward Bound • Upward Bound Math/Science • Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement • Upward Bound • Talent Search • Student Support Services
Program Background There are 139 EOCs in the United States and its territories
Program Background Penn State University, the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Academic Advancement Programs (AAP) sponsors all of the following TRIO programs Upward Bound Math & Science (UBMS) • Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC): • Southwestern Pennsylvania • Philadelphia • Talent Search (TS): • Western Pennsylvania • York College Assistance Migrant Program Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program Student Support Services (SSS) Comprehensive Studies Program (CSP) Upward Bound (UB)
Need for EOC According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics :2000-2010 projections Professional and related occupations are projected to increase the fastest and add the most jobs (7 million) “Employment in all 7 education or training categories that generally require a college degree or other post secondary award is projected to grow faster than the average across all occupations. These categories will increase from 29% to 42 % of the projected new job growth.” Recent Welfare reform with its “work pays” and “get a job now” approach does not address the true issue of people (often women) ultimately obtaining only a low-paying, low skill job. “2/3 of these former welfare recipients report earnings that are below poverty level.” David Pacchioli Not by Jobs Alone
“Community Colleges are at the core of the workforce and economic development world.” Margaret Forde Community College Journal July 2002 “We must ensure that our whole population receives an education that will allow full and continuing participation in this dynamic period of American economic history.” Alan Greenspan “The more highly educated a given workforce is, the more productive it is likely to be” Sarah Turner Connecting Higher Education and the Labor Market 2002
Need for EOC 7 6 5 4 8 2 1 3 9 10 6. Cardiovascular technologist and technicians 9. Camera operators, television, motion picture, video 3. Systems Analyst 1. Computer Engineers 2. Computer Support Specialists 5. Paralegal and legal assistants 7. Medical assistants 4. Desktop publishing specialists 8. Respiratory therapists 10. Database administrators While the types of demand occupations have changed, the skills of the workforce have not kept pace. Education and training of the existing and emerging workforce are critical to bridging this gap. In workforce development, EOC is the link between viable jobs and the untapped labor pool: low-income adults.
EOC’s Role in Workforce Development …What We Do. EOC informs adults of career trends, demand occupations, and occupations in growth areas to enable them make more informed decisions about their futures/careers. In most instances, a minimum of specialized training is required for careers of interests and in demand. On the job training is rarely enough.
How does EOC Help? EOC provides the following four core services free of charge to program participants: • Career Counseling • Admissions Assistance • Financial Aid • Referrals to GED programs and testing centers
EOC Participants Speak “The program is definitely needed…just the encouragement to keep going.” -EOC Participant enrolled at Penn State University in Health Policy and Administration, Sonja Ford, Pittsburgh, PA “Many more resources exist that I was not aware of…[the] career decision survey confirmed my career path. Wow, this was a lot of good, free information.” -Careers Workshop Attendee, July, 2001 “Best information I have received!” -Financial Aid Workshop Attendee: Isaac Moore, Pittsburgh, PA “She [EOC Educational Counselor] gave me a lot of hope that I didn’t have before she called.” -EOC Participant working to resolve her defaulted student loan: Joyce Sheers, Pittsburgh, PA
EOC Participants Speak "It is one thing to get lost, but it's another thing to stay lost. I am so lucky that the EOC was able to get me back on track" -Norinda Rosario Norinda is currently going to Community College of Philadelphia and working part- time as a mentor for high school students " I am not sure exactly what made me go the the EOC, but if I hadn't gone there when I did, then I might have continued the pattern of not going to school or work" -Samuel Chappell Sam finished his BA in American Studies at Penn State Abington and has been accepted to Widener Law school " I would never have been motivated to go this far with out the support of the people at the EOC.” -Virginia Mayo Virginia just completed her High School diploma after being out of school for 13 years. " The future looks very promising, now that I am working towards my dream. I owe a lot to the EOC" -Denise Nunez Denise works part time and goes to Community College of Philadelphia. She is pursuing a career in nursing. " The people at EOC gave me the motivation I needed to move forward. Without their guidance I would not have returned to work." -Than Lonh Than is a single mother originally from Cambodia. She is attending Penn State University studying Human Development and Family Studies. She works part-time at the South East Asian Mutual Assistance Coalition.
Collaborating Agencies/Partners “EOC has been instrumental in helping us service disadvantaged residences in the Hill District and Oakland communities of Pittsburgh. EOC has provided much needed information and support in helping our clients understand the role of higher education and its relationship to employment and career tracks. The assessment process provided by EOC has helped them to match their talents, desires and academic abilities with education and career options they had not been previously aware of. This has made a great difference in their lives.” -Collaborating Agency: Darryl Daughtry, Director, JobLinks “I have unwavering faith in the staff of the Educational Opportunity Center and their collective ability to provide information, guidance, and support that will encourage and motivate our participants to further their education. There is no denying the need for such an important project.” -Collaborating Agency: Ruth E. Smith, Project Coordinator, McKeesport Collaborative, McKeesport, PA “…as a result of personalized assistance from EOC staff, many of our participants are better able to access higher education and training, which will afford them achievement of life-long goals and an improved standard of living.” -Collaborating Agency: James M. Stark, Executive Director, Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc. “Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with our class on Friday. Your presentation was informative, enjoyable, supportive, and encouraging. I hope you will be able to come back. Thank you!” -Collaborating Agency: Nieves Stiker, Director, New Choices/New Options Program, Carlow College, Pittsburgh, PA
How does EOC Recruit Eligible Adults? Agencies sponsor EOC workshops within their agencies for their customers and many provide EOC office space to meet with participants. Community partners provide numerous referrals to EOC for those seeking education and training as well as other levels of support. Partnering EOC is a community-outreach program that recruits eligible adults through a network of satellite sites such as CareerLinks (Job Centers), state and federal programs (SPOC, WTW), veterans resource centers and other community-based organizations.
Locate an EOC near you http://www.ed.gov/offices/OPE/HEP/trio/ Federal TRIO Programs http://www.ed.gov U.S. Department of Education http://www.neoca.freeservers.com National EOC association http://www.trioprograms.org Council for Opportunity in Education (COE).
How to write for an EOC Grant http://www.ed.gov/offices/OPE/HEP/trio/ Federal TRIO Programs The next competition for EOC Program will be in the Fall of 2005