SUNY Receives Significant Increase in Funding to SUNY Educational Opportunity Centers in 2022 FY State Budget to Expand Workforce Opportunities in Underserved Communities

April 13, 2021

SUNY Secured $4 Million in Additional Operating Funding and $10 Million in Capital Funding

Additional Operating Funding Will Help Expand and Bolster SUNY for All Campaign, Including Free Online Training Center to Broaden Access to Higher Education

Photos from Chancellor Malatras' and State Legislator Visit to the Syracuse EOC Available Online


Syracuse, NY – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced today that SUNY received a significant increase in funding for its 10 Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) and two outreach centers in the 2022 state fiscal year budget. With the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers committed to broadening access to higher education and eliminating educational inequities, SUNY received $4 million in additional operating funding and $10 million in capital funding for EOCs, which are designed to meet the educational and vocational needs of students facing economic hardships, especially in underrepresented communities.

The $4 million in additional operating funding represents a nearly seven percent increase and will be used to bolster and expand the SUNY for All campaign, including the free Online Training Center, which has received more than 800 applicants and has enrolled more than 500 people since launching in December.

Currently, more than 2.2 million New Yorkers between the ages of 25 to 44 have no degree, and 2.6 million between the ages of 45-64 are without one. With a wide range of offerings, including high school equivalency, college prep, and employee certificate programs, the free Online Training Center makes it easier for prospective students to pursue a higher education—no matter where they are or what obstacles stand in their way.

Chancellor Malatras made the announcement at the Syracuse EOC, where he was joined by students and Syracuse EOC Vice President Timothy C. Penix, as well as State Senators Rachel May, and State Assembly Member Pamela J. Hunter—lawmakers who were pivotal in landing this additional funding.

"There is a significant gap across New York State with many individuals, especially older individuals, without a college degree or credentials, at a time when 70 percent of jobs created require post-secondary education by 2027. That's why we created the SUNY for All program in order to break down barriers and meet students where they are—in their community—to get an education," said Chancellor Malatras. "Central to this program is our Educational Opportunity Centers that are known in their communities for their ability to train the workforce or provide a path to college. Thanks to the significant investment by the state—including the unyielding support of our state legislators—we will continue to meet this challenge head on so more New Yorkers succeed in getting an education."

State Senator Rachel May said, "My Senate district is rich in colleges and universities, and I am incredibly proud of the support we are offering EOCs across the state in this budget. The Syracuse EOC is an incredible resource for our community, helping students access higher education and build long-lasting careers. The additional operating funds for the EOC, combined with the $10 million we secured for capital improvements, will ensure our neighbors are served by the EOC for years to come. We are all better off for the work they do, and it is my pleasure to continue to support them."

Assembly Member Pamela J. Hunter said, "The recently passed budget was one of the most ambitious in the state's history and provides much needed funding to many services and resources as we recover from the pandemic. After advocating for Syracuse EOC for multiple years, EOC will finally be able to begin renovations while we work with SUNY and community partners to solidify the remaining financial support needed for the project. Ten million had been allocated from previous budgets and with the funding added this year the Syracuse EOC renovations can soon commence. Syracuse EOC has always been a critical resource for our community and the pandemic has underscored that importance. I know EOC will have what it needs to meet the challenges ahead and I am confident EOC will enable our community to take full advantage of new opportunities as we move forward."

Syracuse EOC Vice President Timothy C. Penix said, "The Syracuse EOC has been here for over 50 years providing academic and workforce development and vocational trainings to underrepresented populations—our purpose has been to provide pathways for these students to be successful and to have an impact on our community. With this additional funding, we will continue to provide programs in areas that are needed in the statewide workforce, creating career pathways that will lift our students up into gainful employment and create a positive change for their families and communities. I want to thank Chancellor Malatras for all of his advocacy—he has been a strong advocate for SUNY's EOCS, including them even more into SUNY's culture and helping us all work together as a system to assist all populations in New York State."

Schym Bey, who recently completed training at the Syracuse EOC said, "I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the leadership and staff at Syracuse's EOC who work endlessly to provide a safe environment for students like myself to grow and develop skills in order to conquer our obstacles. For many people my age in the community, the last time we were in an educational setting may have been in high school—returning back to school may involve facing underdeveloped aspects of ourselves, so it's important to be with people who empower us to reach our highest potential. At the EOC, they help us understand the current professional landscape and industries, and show us how to take our education and land a career that speaks to our values and skillsets, as well as life-changing. On behalf of my fellow students, we appreciate the opportunity to grow our EOC with this funding and hope that everything can be done possible to keep this momentum and support going."

Back in December, Chancellor Malatras launched SUNY's free Online Training Center as the first phase of the SUNY for All campaign—a broader initiative designed to expand access to higher education and eliminate educational inequities. The free Online Training Center includes programs offered by the University Center for Academic and Workforce Development (UCAWD), Advanced Technology Training and Information Networking (ATTAIN) labs, and the EOCs.

SUNY's network of 10 EOCs, two outreach centers, and collection of ATTAIN labs employ roughly 600 faculty and staff and represent a major effort to meet the educational and vocational needs of adult learners and people facing financial hardship—particularly those living in larger, more urban areas. The launching of the free Online Training Center makes these programs easily accessible to all New Yorkers, regardless of where they live or what hurdles they face. It currently includes the following programs:

Academic Certification

  • High School Equivalency
  • College Preparation
  • English As a Second Language
  • Pre-vocational Studies

Allied Health Certification

  • Professional Medical Coder & Biller
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Physical Therapy Aide

Business & Industry Certification

  • Emergency Telecommunications
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Office Administration Professional
  • Child Development Associate
  • Customer Service
  • Teacher Assistant
  • Security Guard
  • OSHA 30 & 40
  • Civil Service Preparation

Small Business Certification

  • EntreSkills
  • Business Advisement, Webinar Business Trainings

It also offers nine self-paced academic and career training programs, which can be started at any time throughout the year and include:

  • High School Equivalency
  • Virtual Assistant Entrepreneur
  • Child Development Associate
  • College Preparation
  • Civil Service Exam Preparation
  • Customer Service Professional
  • Emergency Telecommunications
  • Pre-vocational Studies
  • Teacher Assistant

Currently more than 4,200 people have registered for additional information, nearly 800 have applied, and more than 500 have enrolled in a program within SUNY's free Online Training Center. Students who complete any one of the Online Training Center certificates with a high school diploma or high school equivalency credential will be automatically accepted to any of SUNY's 30 community colleges or SUNY Empire State College, SUNY Canton, or SUNY Delhi. The application fee is also waived.

The launching of the free Online Training Center represented the very first phase of the broader, student-focused SUNY for All campaign, which now also includes:

  • Automatic application for the SNAP program for eligible EOC students
  • Connection to food banks to fight food insecurity
  • Outreach and support for high school seniors eligible for the Educational Opportunity Program, including application fee waivers.

To learn more about SUNY for All's campaign, including registering or attending a virtual informational session, the partnership with Feeding New York State, and SNAP enrollment, visit

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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Holly Liapis
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