August 29, 2022
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has awarded four grants totaling $4,250,000 to the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Adult Continuing Education (ACE).
The five-year, federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) Title II funding begins in July 2022, and will support three centers of educational opportunity provided in partnership with BMCC — the Bridges Literacy Zone at Hamilton Madison House, the Chinatown East River Literacy Zone at the Educational Alliance and the Lower East Side Literacy Zone at P.S. 188, The Island School.
Each Literacy Zone program will receive $150,000 a year for five years, strengthening their efforts to create a pathway to college and careers for individuals living in the impoverished neighborhoods bordering BMCC’s lower Manhattan campus.
In addition, the BMCC Center for Continuing Education Workforce Development ACE program DigitalWorks will receive $400,000 a year for five years to provide contextualized English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes linked to Microsoft Office Specialist training in partnership with the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center (MEOC) and Sanctuary for Families (SFF.)
For more than 30 years, BMCC has provided high quality Adult Basic Education, ESOL and High School Equivalency programs. With the NYSED grants, BMCC can continue to provide the educational component of these offerings in partnership with organizations that offer necessary wrap around services, case management, and career training.
Denise Deagan, BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, ACE Director who has overseen these partnerships for decades, appreciates the continuing grant funding that supports its established partnerships.
“We have always said that literacy is job training and career advancement. I have seen so many of our students go on to enroll in CUNY college and post-secondary education,” Director Deagan says. “Now, with our Literacy Zones and Career partnerships, we can address students’ broader needs and barriers, and many of them can be referred to our CUNY WIOA-funded HSE and ESOL classes.”
“Grants totally $4,250,000 for five years, from the New York State Education Department to the BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development support programs that are at the heart of BMCC’s mission to advance equity and increase degree completion, successful transfer and career achievement for students,” said Anthony D. Watson, Acting Dean, Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development and Executive Director, SUNY New York Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center (MEOC).
This refunding of current BMCC programs recognizes the College’s success providing literacy education in partnership with settlement houses and career training organizations, Dean Watson says. “For many students, it is a long journey from gaining English language skills and academic proficiency, to attaining degrees and entering careers that can lift them and their families out of poverty. With NYSED’s generous support, BMCC continues to create pathways that make that happen.”
Grant strengthens Literacy Zones and BMCC’s fruitful partnerships with NYC community organizations
The NYSED award strengthens BMCC’s fruitful partnerships with the City’s community organizations through the Bridges Literacy Zone at Hamilton Madison House, the Chinatown East River Literacy Zone at the Educational Alliance and the Lower East Side Literacy Zone at P.S. 188, The Island School .
The Literacy Zones are integral parts of neighborhood hubs that coordinate in-depth case management, referrals, and educational counseling to support WIOA eligible learners and their families.
All three Literacy Zones address the literacy and English language proficiency needs of individuals and families by referring them to appropriate educational programs leading to college and post-secondary programs.
Housed in community organizations, the Literacy Zones have had a profound impact on the neighborhoods they serve. These neighborhoods, in close proximity to BMCC’s downtown campus, have been particularly hit by the current pandemic.
For example, the Bridges Literacy Zone at Hamilton-Madison House, a non-profit settlement house established in 1898, fosters the well-being of vulnerable populations including the elderly, children, individuals with disabilities, new immigrants, refugees and the unemployed.
With NYSED funding, BMCC will continue to work in partnership with Hamilton-Madison House to blend deeply rooted community resources with BMCC’s 30-year record of success providing quality adult education and workforce development.
“This program has been a very successful collaboration between BMCC and Hamilton-Madison House. It all started with the EvenStart Grant 25 years ago, in partnership with the Public School 1 and 126,” says Isabel Ching, Executive Director, Hamilton-Madison House.
“BMCC faculty member Ke Xu was the ESOL teacher who with compassion and dedication is still with us today,” says Director Ching. “There was a parenting group for pregnant teens, and we also provided babysitting for the evening students so that they could attend classes. All the teen parents became employed, and their children went on to college. Then classes expanded over time and the Literacy Zone funding has allowed us to provide enhanced case management, assessment and referrals to classes as well as drop-in services through our Literacy Zone Welcome Center.”
With Sanctuary for Families and classes at MEOC, BMCC will provide Digital Works program
Participants will complete free training in basic productivity software skills, Microsoft Office Specialist Exams and certifications. Those who complete the 18-week DigitalWorks modules will be prepared to apply for industry-recognized certifications and raise their level of employability.
DigitalWorks sessions will involve careful assessment of student goals, ESOL instruction that relates to the business environment, next-step and long-term goal-setting, and ongoing case management.
“The Economic Empowerment Program’s Sanctuary for Families provides a caring community, quality literacy programming through BMCC’s Office of Adult and Continuing Education, and rigorous supports for our clients and their families,” said Angelo J. Rivera, Director, Economic Empowerment Program (EEP). “Through EEP’s literacy partnership with BMCC, we are able to help our clients gain English language and software skills, take important steps beyond poverty and access the economic opportunity that New York City has to offer. This workforce development model will serve our clients in innovative and effective ways as they are enabled to gain employment, begin their educational path and move closer to the life they envision for themselves and their families.”
For more information about the BMCC Adult Continuing Education (ACE) Literacy Zone, Digital Works and other programs, call (212) 346-8433 or (212) 346-8428 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The BMCC Literacy Zone and Digital Works Programs relate to the BMCC Strategic Plan including Strategic Goal #3: Integrate career development throughout the student experience.
- New York State Education Department (NYSED) awards grants totaling $4,250,000 to BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Adult Continuing Education (ACE).
- This federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) Title II funding supports five-year grants that begin in 2022 and support BMCC programming at the Bridges Literacy Zone, Chinatown East River Literacy Zone and Lower East Side Literacy Zone.
- In addition, the NYSED funding supports DigitalWorks, a BMCC ACE program that provides employment-contextualized English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes at 25 Broadway for students co-enrolled in free Career and Technical Education (CTE) training