- Brett Guthrie, Congressman, Kentucky
SAVE Your Local Educational Opportunity Center
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The Trump Administration is working to eliminate TRIO Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) programs that support adults in completing and furthering their education and career goals. In 2016, EOC programs assisted and supported more than 225,000 low-income adult learners who would be the first people in their families to enroll in college to complete and further their education through career and technical education programs, community college and four-year institutions. An increasing number of adult students are furthering their education as a way of moving out of low-wage and dead-end employment. EOC helps low-wage and unemployed Americans move into higher paying jobs and contribute more revenue to the local economy. Higher wages mean more taxes revenue and greater local spending power. If EOC programs disappear, this is what adult learners and their families will lose:
● GED and High School Equivalency Support and Completion
● Academic Advising
● Personal Counseling
● Career and Technical Workshops
● Financial Aid Assistance
● Admissions Assistance
● Financial Literacy
● Connections to Disability Services
● Veterans Support
● Supporting Homeless and Foster Youth
● Scholarship Awareness and Outreach
What can you do to help?
We need YOU to save local EOC programs across America. Our goal is 10,000 signatures in 30 days. Please help us by signing our national petition TODAY! Go to https://www.change.org
Also, contact your local Congressmen and women, and share with them the importance of the EOC!
Please SHARE with your friends and family. Partner with us and let’s reach this goal together!
- Brett Guthrie, Congressman, Kentucky
Brett Guthrie, Chairman
Susan A. Davis, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development
2434 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Proposed Elimination of Trio Educational Opportunity Center Programs
There has been a lot of talk lately about jobs and while higher education isn’t for everyone, postsecondary education is one of the best vehicles to help get out-of- work and underemployed Americans get back to work. TRIO’s Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) are one of the few national initiatives that can help these workers find a path to better employment opportunities through education, whether it be a state or local workforce initiative or apprenticeship program, a 2-year community college or 4-year university.
Educational Opportunity Centers are one of the Department of Education TRIO programs and one of the few national initiatives targeted toward assisting adults. EOC programs assists low-income, first generation adults to achieve high school equivalency programs and enroll into college or other education programs by identifying, enrolling in, and paying for furthering their education. Many EOC programs partner with their local helping agencies like Goodwill, Departments of Social Services, churches and local adult education programs that work with EOCs to find those adults in need and assist them in finding a program that can help those non-traditional students move out of unemployment or low-wage, dead-end employment.
There are 165 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving more than 225,000 individuals. Recent analysis of performance data of the Educational Opportunity Centers found that more than half (57.6%) of "college-ready" students enrolled in institutions of higher learning and 71% of eligible EOC participants (high school seniors, postsecondary dropouts, etc.) applied to college. (http://www.coenet.org/trio.shtml
When Educational Opportunity Centers help low-wage and unemployed Americans move into higher paying jobs, this, in turn, contributes more revenue to local economies. We know that higher wages = more taxes and greater spending power. In order to have a strong workforce, we MUST make sure that all adults have the credentials needed to allow them to succeed.
Let us tell you more about other services that EOC programs provide—
• Education or counseling services designed to improve the financial and economic literacy of students
• Academic advice and assistance in program or course selection
• Assistance in preparing for college entrance examinations
• Individualize personal, career, and academic counseling
• Guidance on secondary school reentry or entry to a General Educational Development (GED) program or other alternative education program for secondary school dropouts
• Career workshops and counseling
• Programs and activities previously mentioned that are specially designed for students who are limited English proficient, students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, students who are in foster care or are aging out of foster care system or other disconnected students.
There are many American adults who have benefited from their local EOC programs. Take for example, Chrissy, who tried for years to pass the GED test. Her EOC academic specialist offered a unique plan for her; come in once a week and go over the questions she had problems with at home. For 4 month, Chrissy met with her EOC counselor and they worked through the test questions. Thanks to EOC, Chrissy did pass the GED and then went on to become a Certified Nursing Aid. For the first time in her life, Chrissy had a regular paycheck. But, she decided that she wanted to earn the Licensed Practical Nurse degree. The EOC counselor met with her once a week to help her prepare for the entrance exam. With the help of her local EOC programs, she was able to pass the test and was admitted into the program. Today is a nursing professional who loves what she does and is making more money than she ever imagined. She called to tell her EOC counselor that she and her husband where closing on their first house; when this all started, she was living in public housing.
Then, there is Richard from Tulsa who came to his local community college EOC program soon after he was released from prison. He was a single father who wanted to do best by his children and to reform himself. Richard had obtained his GED while he was incarcerated and scored high in all areas. While working full time, with the help of EOC, he enrolled in his first semester at Tulsa Community College and made the President’s Honor Roll. He graduated with honors in paralegal and business administration. Soon after, he began in internship at the Tulsa Public Defenders office and started a nonprofit organization call “Racism Stinks”.
Back in 1999, Ardith Smith was in an accident and was left confined to a wheelchair. She was a former state and federal offender who had been incarcerated for over 8 years. At the time of the accident, she was hustling drugs and working low paying jobs. She was referred to a local EOC program and Vocational Rehabilitation. Her EOC counselor helped her complete her FAFSA and enroll at Penn Valley Community College where she earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and is currently in a master’s program. She is currently providing free resource counseling for former inmates, low income adults. If it had not been for the help from her local EOC, she believes that she would serving a life sentence.
These are only a few of the adults who have come to EOC for help and who have changed their lives for the better. If you would like to ready more stories, you can go to the National Educational Opportunity Centers Association’s (NEOCA) website at www.neoca.us
This being said, it is hard to understand why President Trump recently proposed eliminating Trio’s Educational Opportunity Center programs. As Congress will be making difficult decisions around the federal budget. We are asking you to please stand up and fight to support Educational Opportunity Centers in the days ahead!
Cynthia Harrelson, B.L.A.
Trident Technical College EOC Administration
NEOCA Executive Board President
EOC Advocacy Committee Chair
Nicole Katzman, MAT, MA
Associate Director EOC
NEOCA Advocacy Committee Chair
Community College of Rhode Island EOC
EOC Advocacy Committee Co-Chair
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