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SUNY Educational Opportunity Centers expand free workforce training

Jim Malatras (right) meets with Broome County Urban League CEO Jennifer Lesko and others at a newly opened computer lab in downtown Binghamton on Wednesday.

SUNY Educational Opportunity Centers are expanding their online workforce training with more options for students. That includes certifications in childhood development, emergency telecommunications and entrepreneurial skills.

While COVID-19 has greatly affected the economy, it was already in flux before the pandemic hit, said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras. 

“We are changing from basically a manufacturing type of economy to an information economy and that’s changing even with artificial intelligence and automation, which just requires more training in our society,” Malatras said. 

According to the state comptroller’s office, more than 12 percent of jobs in New York state were lost last year.

“How do you rebuild back? You rebuild back into those areas that were already growing that require new training that require new degrees. This is our biggest obligation." Malatras added that nine of the 20 academic and career training programs offered are “self-paced” so that students can start at anytime. 

“It is our responsibility to provide resources and flexibility to every New Yorker who seeks a positive change in life through education,” John Graham, SUNY Student Advocate and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor said in a statement.

Students who complete their training at an EOC and have a high school diploma or equivalency will be automatically accepted to any of SUNY’s 30 community colleges as well as SUNY Empire State College and SUNY Canton.

“We’re finding that many under-represented communities are the ones not going to college right now. Which is perpetuating inequalities in the workplace, in jobs,” Malatras said.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.
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