Enterprise State Community College was recently chosen as one of only three Alabama community colleges to receive a five-year, $1.16 million federal TRiO grant to set up an Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) for program participants who want to pursue a college education.
The grant is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Through the grant, ESCC will receive $232,050 annually for the next five years to assist, prepare and support program participants with gaining the skills necessary to pursue post-secondary education.
The EOC grant is the College’s second TRIO grant. ESCC’s Student Support Services has received TRiO grants for over 40 years.
“We are excited about the opportunity to receive another TRiO grant and expand our ability to make a difference in our community,” Dean of Students Kassie Mathis said. “TRiO grants are about increasing awareness of post-secondary educational opportunities and helping those who are low income and educationally disadvantaged.”
EOC grant funding will allow the college to hire one full-time director, two full-time education specialists and a part-time tutor. All employees hired to work within the EOC grant will train to identify the obstacles (financial, personal, etc.) participants face and create a plan to overcome those barriers. There will also be a focus on adults seeking to obtain a secondary school diploma or GED.
“We believe that a large part of our population is out of high school but really needing assistance in taking the next steps toward bettering their lives,” ESCC President Matt Rodgers said. “Education is the next step for these members of our community. Being one of a few community colleges in the state to receive this grant, we will be able to assist more people and help our residents move forward in developing successful careers.”
All services, workshops and one-on-one appointments through the Center will be available to residents in Coffee, Dale, Geneva and Houston Counties. EOC offices will also be available on both the Enterprise and Ozark campuses. The program will serve 850 participants across the service area.
“Our goal is to utilize the EOC grant to connect participants with the resources and assistance necessary to earn an education,” Mathis said. “The desired outcome is to help people improve their quality of life, increase their earning potential and motivate participants to build a legacy of educational achievement in their families.”
Cutline: Career/Transfer Coordinator for SSS for the Ozark Campus Lesia Grice, left, shows Dean of Students Kassie Mathis the many ways SSS helps their students be successful. SSS is funded by a TRiO grant, and ESCC will be receiving a second TRiO grant to set up an Educational Opportunity Center on the Ozark campus.