Governor Cuomo Expands Community Schools Programs to Adirondack and Onondaga Community Colleges

October 5, 2016

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Program Provides Comprehensive Support Services to Students to Increase College Access and Degree Completion

Each School Will Receive $500,000 to Launch New Programs in 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $1 million to support two new Community Schools programs at the State University of New York's Adirondack and Onondaga Community Colleges. The Community Schools initiative aims to increase college access and support degree completion by providing comprehensive services for students. Previous Community Schools funding was awarded to Jefferson, Mohawk Valley and Rockland Community Colleges.

"These programs will invest in the future of local students and open new doors to opportunity in Central New York and the Capital Region," Governor Cuomo said. "By transforming local schools into community institutions, we can better serve the needs of our neighborhoods and help foster the next generation of New York leaders."

These new programs will launch in 2017 and will provide comprehensive wraparound services for students, including child and elder care, transportation, health care services, family and employment counseling and legal aid. Over the course of three years, each of the grant recipients will receive $500,000.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, "Expanding support for wraparound services eliminates a significant hurdle for many more students, helping them to focus on their academics and stay in school to complete their degrees. Congratulations to Adirondack and Onondaga Community Colleges, and thank you to Governor Cuomo for this continued support."

SUNY Adirondack

SUNY Adirondack will lead an initiative designed to meet the unique needs of low-income, first generation students living in rural areas within the college’s expansive 2,625 square-mile service district. The program, Connect to Complete, will use a Collective Impact model based on the premise that too many organizations work in isolation from one another and, in order to achieve lasting change, people from different organizations must come together in a structured way.

SUNY Adirondack will lead a network of support organizations within this 3-county area to launch a holistic, student-centered effort that links at-risk, low-income students and their families to community resources both on campus and off. Student success will be reinforced through a personal navigation approach that provides students-in-need with access to trained support coaches and expanding transportation options for students through a community volunteer network of drivers. The goal of the initiative is to support low-income students living in remote, poverty-stricken areas in achieving academic success and living healthier lives.

SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy said, “SUNY Adirondack’s Connect to College initiative will take a collaborative approach with our community agencies to support under-resourced students with needs outside of the classroom, to provide individualized coaching to navigate college successfully and to mitigate transportation challenges that can derail a student’s ability to complete. We are grateful to the Governor for his support of the Community Schools Grant program.”

Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Geraghty said, "Providing access to a college education to those in our community that need it most, should be a priority for everyone. I applaud the Governor for pushing for this funding for SUNY Adirondack that will help with vital counseling and health care services and access to child care that will no doubt make a real difference in our community."

Queensbury Supervisor John Strough said, “This funding will help break down barriers that all too often prevent many New Yorkers from pursuing a college education. I thank the Governor and SUNY for investing in our community and making college access a reality.”

Onondaga Community College

Onondaga Community College and its partners in Central New York will leverage this grant to establish the Onondaga Community CareHub, a comprehensive virtual and physical system of support services to remove non-academic barriers among low-income students and individuals on public assistance who are pursuing postsecondary credentials to prepare for career entry.

Onondaga Community College introduced an on-site food pantry in response to student needs and services have been expanded to include legal aid, tax support, and coordinated access to emergency funds, including transportation and books supported by a growing network of community partners. With this funding, Onondaga Community College and its partners will bring these efforts to scale on campus to establish a comprehensive, sustainable network and "hub" of campus- and community-based services; and produce a model of campus-community support services that may be replicated in communities across New York State.

Onondaga Community College President Casey Crabill said, "Onondaga Community College is grateful to receive this grant to support the needs of our students. Often, it takes more than tuition and books to see them through, and this grant will provide critical links to community agencies to support their success and retain them to completion."

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, “We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for his continuing strong support of efforts on all fronts to grow the Central New York economy. Great workers make a region competitive and his support for OCC’s Community Care Hub will ensure that students who need a little extra assistance will get help and become key contributors to our region’s continued economic revival.”

Community Schools

The Community Schools program was created to support the creation of three programs at community colleges in regions outside of New York City.

The initiative is part of a strategy to meet the needs of high-need New York State students and their families. Based in part on the previously instated K-12 Community Schools Grant Initiative, the extension to community colleges builds on the evidence of promising practices from successful community schools models across the state and nation.

The five colleges were selected by a competitive grant process and awardees were chosen based regional geographic diversity and on their capacity to:

  • Maximize investment by leveraging local government and non-profit organization participation,
  • Target high-need communities and student populations, and
  • Establish long-term sustainability of the program.

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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