SUNY Chancellor King Celebrates Adult Learners at Queens Educational Opportunity Center’s Commencement

June 20, 2024

Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman Announces Funding to Support the Center's Pilot Entrepreneurial Program to Empower Local Community Members with the Basic Knowledge of Starting a Business

Jamaica, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King Jr. joined Queens Educational Opportunity Center's Executive Director Khayriyyah Ali, the Queens EOC community, and elected officials to provide the keynote address to celebrate and inspire this year's graduates on the successful completion of their programs.

The Queens EOC graduated 697 students enrolled in programs including High School Equivalency (HSE), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), OSHA Construction Training, security guard training, and Medical Billing, among others.

As part of the commencement, Chancellor King joined New York State Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman to announce $10,000 in funding secured by the Assemblymember to support the Queens Educational Opportunity Center's pilot entrepreneurial program. The program aims to empower up to 35 students in the first cohort by providing them with the basic knowledge needed to start a business.

"SUNY Educational Opportunity Centers are nothing short of transformative, and it is my pleasure to celebrate the adult learners completing programs at the Queens EOC,” said SUNY Chancellor King. "Our EOCs are continually growing to meet the needs of the community, and we thank Assemblymember Hyndman for funding the latest pilot program for adult learners who aspire to start their own business. Students will be empowered with the basic building blocks they need to start on their journey and, like the many programs our EOCs offer, this will set them on a path toward upward mobility and a sense of pride."

New York State Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman said, "I am thrilled to have provided $10,000 in funding to support the Queens Educational Opportunity Center's new pilot entrepreneurial program. This funding represents an investment in the future of our community by empowering individuals with the skills and knowledge to start their own businesses. It's about giving people the tools they need to succeed and drive economic growth locally.”

The program will be taught remotely and asynchronously with some meetings at the Queens EOC to offer in-person networking opportunities, as well as hands-on activities. Those enrolled will learn leadership skills as well as financial literacy to ensure their small business thrives. The program will reach the population served by the Queens EOC to participate in collaborative entrepreneurial training in the basics of starting a business with access, as applicable, to a potential, modest small business loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) upon completion of the program.

To support this upcoming initiative, the Queens EOC has registered for the 2024-25 Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) Online Entrepreneurship Institute for Adult Educators and Service Providers. The COABE Online Entrepreneurship Institute equips educators and service providers with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully integrate entrepreneurial instruction for adult learners. 

New York State Senator Leroy Comrie said, "I am elated to join in congratulating the Queens EOC class of 2024 on the occasion of their graduation commencement. This center has proved to be a vital asset to our borough, year after year, through the life-transforming opportunities their programs provide to students. Additionally, I want to commend Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman for her feat of securing state funding for a pilot virtual entrepreneurial program. Queens EOC's students often must overcome a number of compounding challenges while furthering their education, so it is imperative that the State is doing its part to aid Queens EOC in providing programs that are flexible and responsive enough to cater to a variety of life circumstances.”

New York State Assemblymember Khaleel M. Anderson said, "Congratulations to the 600 plus graduates from the 2024 class of the Educational Opportunity Center. I have seen firsthand the impact of the EOC program, which provides residents of Queens with valuable experiences and an edge in pursuing higher education and advancing their careers. The SUNY ATTAIN Lab in the Rockaways further extends SUNY's reach by providing additional resources. As a CUNY graduate, I can attest to the benefits of public education. As a former participant at Rockaway's SUNY Attain Lab for a Microsoft Office certification program, I know how impactful these programs are for individuals who are aiming to Upskill for careers! Congratulations again class of 2024!”

Queens EOC Executive Director Khayriyyah Ali said, "Each year, the Queens EOC is privileged to serve hundreds of students striving for a better future not just for themselves, but for their families and their communities. I want to congratulate the Class of 2024 for their dedication and resilience to dream big and achieve their goals. A special note of gratitude to the entire Queens delegation for their unwavering commitment to our incredible EOC, Assemblymember Vivian Cook for her long-standing support, and to Assemblymember Hyndman for her advocacy and funding to support this critical new initiative.”

In 2022, the Queens EOC (QEOC) started discussions with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) York College campus to develop a program that will provide entrepreneurial programming at the QEOC. These discussions started prior to the COVID pandemic following the 2020 Black and Puerto Rican Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus Conference.

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 country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 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 2023, 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 opportunities, visit

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