Cayuga Community College President Daniel Larson shared five innovative educational support programs at Cayuga that are helping the nation meet President Obama's goal of leading the world in college completion by 2020 during the Community College Summit Philadelphia on February 28, 2011.
Larson joined fellow community college legislators, Dr. Jill Biden, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis at the summit—one of four regional meetings being held as a follow up event to the White House Summit on Community Colleges in October 2010.
The purpose of the meetings is to identify promising programs and practices for increasing degree completion at community colleges.
"This was a tremendous event that continued the dialogue we began about supporting students in their efforts to earn a college degree back in October in Washington," said Cayuga Community College President Daniel Larson. "I was excited to hear about the initiatives underway at community colleges across the region, and to consider how we might implement some of these ideas at Cayuga. At the same time, my peers were interested in hearing about the impact Cayuga is making in adult education and degree completion in Central New York."
Participants were invited to share high impact programs from their colleges that aligned with one of five strategic areas:
- Transitions To and Through Community Colleges
- Developmental Education/Innovation and Student Success
- Business Partnerships/Graduation and Employment
- College Affordability
- Completion Goals
Larson distributed information about five Cayuga programs that touch on three of these strategic areas: transition, development education, and business partnerships/employment.
Cayuga's Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD), which is developing curricula to help adult learners to find new career pathways, specifically in advanced manufacturing and healthcare. The desire to focus on skill development in these two areas resulted from two employer forums, sponsored by CORD. The college is currently developing new academic degree and certificate programs in healthcare and advanced manufacturing to match the career pathways identified by the employer forums.
He also highlighted three programs designed to help learners transition into college: Policy-to-Performance, Learner Web, and Literacy Zones.
Cayuga Community College is the only college selected to serve on the New York State team in Policy-to-Performance national initiative. Policy-to-Performance seeks to advance state efforts to transition low-skilled adults and adult learners successfully to adult education, post-secondary education, and employment opportunities.
The Learner Web supports post-secondary transition through a web-based, learner-driven software that helps GED candidates and other future students connect with college advisors and learning plans to get them ready for college life.
Literacy Zones, developed by the New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department, are intended to close the achievement gap in urban and rural communities of concentrated poverty and with high concentrations of families and individuals with limited literacy or English language proficiency. In partnership with the Syracuse Literacy Zone, Cayuga is facilitating a seamless transition for students into degree programs and non-degree certificates.
Finally, he shared information about the GED PLUS program, which reduces, or sometimes even eliminates, the need for remedial or developmental classes in students who have previously required this support. New GED PLUS curriculum combined with the GED preparation materials and resources lays a strong foundation for transition into the community college setting.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher was represented at the regional summit by Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges Johanna Duncan-Poitier.
"I commend President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden for bringing long overdue attention to the incredible value added by a community college education," Chancellor Zimpher said. "At SUNY, we have always known that these institutions are the key to training the workforce we need to develop the innovation economy of the future. I further commend President Obama for putting community colleges in the forefront of economic revitalization – a stance we fully embrace as outlined in our strategic plan, The Power of SUNY."
Vice Chancellor Duncan-Poitier facilitated a discussion on the significance of partnerships between community colleges and local businesses alongside Ron Withers, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Burlington County Community College in New Jersey. By working in tandem, community colleges can ensure businesses have access to the skilled workforce they need. In turn, businesses can help ensure that community colleges are able to successfully place their students in the jobs they need.
"With more than 246,000 students in 30 community colleges, SUNY is the driving force behind an educated workforce and a strong economic future for New York State," Vice Chancellor Duncan-Poitier said. "SUNY is proud to partner with business and industry leaders, including GlobalFoundries and the Center for Economic Growth; its trustees; government leaders; and others to lead the nation in carrying out President Obama's vision for increasing college completion rates and preparing students for the demands of a 21st-century workforce."