SUNY Workforce Grants

Oct.21, 2016


Westchester Community College’s Professional Development Center has submitted three 2016-17 SUNY Workforce Development Training Grant proposals. The total cap for each community college for this grant period is $60,000. WCC requested $57,830 in grant funding and received 100% of the requested amount.

The grant recipients include the Hawthorne Foundation, a nonprofit organization; Hudson Valley Hospital, a regional hospital; and Non-Profit Westchester, a county association of nonprofits grouped together as a consortium. The awards per organization came to:

Hawthorne Foundation $14,380
Hudson Valley Hospital $28,230
Non-Profit Westchester $15,220


Grant Recipient – Hawthorne Foundation Inc.

The Hawthorne Foundation is a 250-person agency providing services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Its mission is to provide quality education, habilitative, vocational, and recreational programs to their clients.

The primary service providers within the Hawthorne Foundation are their Direct Service Professionals (DSP’s). The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is rolling out an initiative to transform the primary role of the DSP from care-giving to coaching.

This grant will provide the Hawthorne Foundation with the training to help their DSP’s transition to their new coaching role. In addition, the DSP role is often a high-turnover position and this program will improve retention by giving DSP’s the incentive to stay employed in this field or organization.

The Hawthorne Foundation has identified 7 program topics for inclusion in the grant.  They are:

  • DSP Competency Training
  • Person Centered Planning
  • Observation and Feedback Skills for Supervisors
  • Communicating with Families and Team Members
  • Demonstrating Professionalism
  • Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
  • Managing Personal Biases

A target audience of 70 individuals will participate in some or all of the 7 topics to be covered. There will be a total of 29 cohort groups each open to 10 participants bringing the total of training seats used to 290. The total grant award is $14,380.

Grant Recipient – New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

Hudson Valley Hospital, now a regional hospital under New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is dedicated to serving the health care needs of the community and providing quality, comprehensive medical care in Westchester County. Offering state-of-the-art diagnostic treatment, education and preventive services, the Hospital is committed to improving the quality of life in the community.

In fulfilling this mission, the Hospital will strive to continuously improve the care provided and develop and offer programs, facilities, systems and alliances that most effectively respond to community health care needs.

Hudson Valley Hospital has identified the following workforce development needs for incumbent workers of the hospital:

  • Implementing Process Change
  • Leadership / Management Training
  • Language Skills
    • ESL
    • Spanish for Healthcare Workers

Healthcare is one of the most important and fastest growing sectors in the county. The hospital includes a wide range and diversity of employees and various staff positions throughout the organization. These programs will help Hudson Valley fulfill its mission to effectively respond to community health care needs by investing in their employees and workforce development.   The SUNY Grant will cover four programs and approximately 120 students. Total grant award is $28,230.

Grant Recipient – Nonprofit Westchester

Nonprofit Westchester is an association of nonprofits to form a collective organization throughout Westchester County. Nonprofit Westchester was formed four years ago and has a focus on:

  1. Building capacity of organizations (e.g. giving them the tools to be effective, get work done and be successful);
  2. Marketing – strengthening and improving awareness and knowledge of nonprofits throughout the county;
  3. Advocating for the needs of nonprofits through legislation in the county.

The SUNY Grant provides the option for smaller nonprofits to benefit from workforce training opportunities through their participation in this consortium. Leveraging the consortium approach model, WCC’s PDC will be able to gain broad exposure to a number of agencies throughout Westchester County.


Degree Works

Oct.09, 2016

Degree Works is a web-based advising tool to help students, faculty and counselors track a student’s completion of academic program requirements, determine course selections, track progress toward graduation, and use “what-if” scenarios to see how courses already taken would apply to a different major. DegreeWorks is user-friendly, has helpful visual cues for completion and can even be accessed from smart phones.

The use of Degree Works is part of larger State University of New York initiative so that “every student will have fundamental degree planning services at every institution with the ability online for students considering transfer to assess degree progress at other SUNY institutions” (SUNY Degree Planning Initiative).  The college has been working on this implementation for almost one year is has held training sessions for Deans, Chairs, faculty, staff, student leaders, and students. Training sessions will be ongoing through the spring 2015 semester.

To access Degree Works go to; specific questions may be directed to Please note that Degree Works will show full degree audits for students who matriculated into a Westchester Community College degree program plans from fall 2013 on.


WCC Center for the Arts launches entrepreneurship bootcamp

Oct.09, 2016

Westchester Community College is offering photographers, painters, jewelers, potters and all other creative types a series of weekend bootcamps to learn what it takes to turn their craft into a business.

Click here to read an article that was in the Westchester Business Journal


Congresswoman Lowey Announces New Grant

Oct.01, 2016

Lowey Announces $696,572 Grant for Five-Year Mercy College Program to Support Hispanic & Low-Income Undergraduates in STEM Fields 

More than 2,500 unfilled positions in Lower Hudson Valley in health care and software engineering 

Funds will enable partnership between Mercy College and Westchester Community College

Dobbs Ferry, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D- Rockland/Westchester), the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, today was joined at the Mercy College Wellness Initiative Fair by Mercy College President Timothy Hall, Westchester Community College Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Peggy Bradford, Mercy College senior and Biology major Christian Castillo, as well as administrators from Mercy College and Westchester Community College, to announce a $696,572 grant from the Department of Education (ED) Hispanic Serving Institution – Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (HSI STEM) and Articulation Program for Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry. This funding will help create Team STEM, a five-year joint program between Mercy College and Westchester Community College (WCC) to help Hispanic and low-income students complete studies in STEM fields.

“Educating more students in STEM fields is one of the most productive steps we can take to strengthen our economy,” said Lowey. “I’m pleased that Mercy College and Westchester Community College are using these federal dollars to address a growing need for STEM professionals in the Hudson Valley. As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue working to provide students of all backgrounds with the resources they need to succeed in a dynamic, globalized workforce.”

“We are grateful for this grant and for the support we receive from Congresswoman Lowey,” said Tim Hall, President of Mercy College. “We are a proud Hispanic serving institution, and these dollars will allow Mercy College to open the minds of so many of our students.  With knowledge and motivation, the possibilities are endless.”

“Westchester Community College is uniquely positioned to help our many talented Hispanic and underrepresented students pursue STEM careers. The college’s partnership with Mercy College and our seven StepUP high schools will provide rigorous academic preparation for successful transition into college and transfer into baccalaureate degree programs. We are proud to work with Mercy College to increase access and success to STEM careers for all of those who seek relevant education, including Hispanic and low-income students,” said Dr. Belinda. S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College.

In the United States, more than half of the five million currently open jobs involve information technology. In the Lower Hudson Valley, there are more than 2,500 unfilled positions in fields that require a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, such as health care and software engineering.

Team STEM will focus on two- and four-year Hispanic and/or low-income undergraduates seeking to complete a bachelor’s degree within six years in one of six STEM disciplines offered at Mercy College: Biology, Psychology, Mathematics, Computer Science, Computer Information Science, and Cybersecurity.  Team STEM will offer three all-new student-centered initiatives designed to improve the persistence, retention and graduations rates of Hispanic and low-income STEM students.

In addition, Team STEM will capitalize on the long-standing articulation agreements between Mercy College and WCC by jointly sponsoring new activities designed to facilitate the seamless transfer of Hispanic and low-income two-year students into Mercy College’s STEM baccalaureate programs. Highlights of these new, student–centered activities include personalized advising; Mercy-WCC peer mentoring; summer bridge programs focused on acclimating to college; and undergraduate research and internship opportunities. Once enrolled at Mercy, Team STEM students will also have full access to traditional student support services.

Westchester Community College is SUNY’s first Hispanic Serving Institution and the county’s largest college. The Mercy College/Westchester Community College Transfer Pipeline will increase the number of WCC students who successfully transition from our StepUP high school partners to WCC, and then on to Mercy College to earn a dual degree AS/BS in a STEM major.

The HSI STEM and Articulation Programs are run through the U.S. Department of Education. The goals of these programs are to increase the number of Hispanic and  low-income students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; and  to develop model transfer and articulation agreements between two-year and four-year institutions in such fields.


File for FAFSA now

Sep.27, 2016

You can file months earlier than usual. File now!


Fall Open House will be held on November 16

Sep.27, 2016

Our annual Fall Open House will be held on Tuesday, November 16 from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Visit academic and student services tables, participate in a campus tour and information session. Speak with faculty, staff and students about academic programs, student services and career and transfer opportunities. Click here for more information.


Remote Power Unit Donated from Aris Wind, LLC

Sep.20, 2016

A unique new tool has been added to the list of resources for students studying at Westchester Community College; a 29-foot Remote Power Unit (RPU) now graces the front entrance of the institution’s Technology Building on the main campus in Valhalla. On September 21, the college hosted a dedication ceremony to commemorate this donation from Aris Wind, LLC.

This new equipment will help instructors in a variety of different academic programs demonstrate the uses of renewable energy to college students. The unit, which generates both solar and wind power, includes a lighting system and a USB charging station. This new energy technology will help supplement course lessons on energy efficiency, energy conservation, wind power, solar power, energy storage, and Internet/computer control of the RPU device.

At the ceremony, Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President, Westchester Community College, noted that the donation of the new equipment fits in perfectly with the college’s five focus areas. “This new equipment supports our student success theme since it will help them further engage in applied learning experiences. The tie-in to workforce development is strong as students will be able to use cutting edge technology provided by a local firm to learn about their chosen field, and they will be able to leverage this experience to help them secure employment after graduation. Our community engagement focus area is supported by the involvement of a new corporate partner: Aris Wind. Our next focus area, improving college culture, is relevant since students will be encouraged to try this new technology (the culture of innovation). And finally, there are several tie-ins with our stewardship focus area as we celebrate a generous donation by Aris, which helps our bottom line, and also acknowledge that this new equipment will improve our ability to save natural resources,” she said.

Also during the dedication, Professor Richard Vaninwegen introduced the members of the college’s Energy Club including Peter Singh, who introduced the idea of housing an RPU on campus to the college administration.

Aris President Dan Connors spoke to the attendees, noting that this was “a win-win.” He told the crowd that “we all succeed with this project since our company is very interested in sharing new technology with interested students, some of whom may work for Aris in the future!” The company ( is a metropolitan New York City based renewable energy firm with advanced and unique wind/solar products for off-grid and grid-tied power applications. 

William M. Mooney III, Director, Westchester County Office of Economic Development, also spoke at the event, hailing the public/private partnership. The county office helped facilitate the donation.


Westchester Community Foundation Awards Major Grant

Sep.08, 2016

Westchester Community College Foundation is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $100,000 from the Westchester Community Foundation/Wallace Westchester Fund.   This major grant is helping to support the College’s major initiatives in college readiness and persistence for Westchester County public high school students.

Piloted with the help of a grant from Westchester Community Foundation and an anonymous donor, WCC’s high school transitions program, StepUp, was designed with the premise that aligning high school to college curriculum and providing academic, social, and emotional support to 12th grade public high school students who are “on track to graduate but not college ready,” would decrease the need for remediation, encourage college enrollment, enhance persistence, and ultimately, provide an articulated pathway for students to successfully complete degrees and transfer in a timely manner.

This past academic year, WCC faculty worked with five public high schools to introduce special curricula in math and English language arts to selected 12th grade students.  Students who participated are showing an increased readiness to start college, and WCC will be welcoming its first cohort of students this fall.  The WCC StepUp program will be introduced into at least three new high schools annually.

The current grant from Westchester Community Foundation will enhance the program.  StepUp on Campus will allow us to begin to track the success of the first cohort of incoming students and develop new components to the program that will engage high school guidance counselors, ease transition to college, and provide support systems that enable students to persist and transfer.

Of the initiative, Laura Rossi, Executive Director of the Westchester Community Foundation, said “We are pleased to continue our partnership with Westchester Community College to improve the college success rates of students throughout Westchester. We know that, given the right supports, all students can thrive and build a secure future for themselves and their families.” 

WCF is a division of the New York Community Trust, one of the largest community foundations in the country, with assets of approximately $2.6 billion. 

Westchester Community College provides accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community.  We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.


Emergency Aid Program

Sep.07, 2016

The new Westchester Community College Foundation Emergency Aid Program has been established to assist students who have unforeseen financial hardships that occur during the academic year and endanger their continued enrollment.

Emergency situations may include, but not limited to homelessness or sudden loss of housing, fire; eviction; overdue utility bills; theft of computer, books or clothing, temporary loss of job or income; victims of violence,  sudden loss of childcare; and other such situations.

Click here for more information about the program.


ACE Fellow

Sep.01, 2016

ACE_HSDr. Belinda S. Miles, president of Westchester Community College, has announced that Dr. Nicola Blake will spend a full academic year at the college as a 2016-2017 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutional and leadership capacity in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration. Twenty-nine Fellows, nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, will serve at colleges and universities across the nation including Yale University, Cornell University, Northeastern University, Vassar College, Swarthmore College, The Ohio State University, and University of Maryland College Park. Valencia College in Florida is the only other community college hosting an ACE Fellow in 2016-2017.

“Our selection as one of only two community colleges speaks to Westchester Community College’s growing national reputation among institutions dedicated to academic excellence and student success,” says Dr. Miles. “Dr. Blake will work collaboratively with faculty and staff on a range of special projects that will give her broad exposure to the transformative work the college does for its students.” Since Miles became president in January 2015, the college has graduated its two largest classes in school history.

Blake joined CUNY’s Guttman Community College in 2011 and was elected as the curriculum committee chair. She is currently faculty advisor to the provost, liberal arts and sciences program coordinator, and assistant professor in English at Guttman. Her accomplishments include spearheading a college-wide taskforce on the architecture of the second-year experience at Guttman, and through her almost two decades in higher education, she has participated in national and local grants focused on high-impact practices to improve writing at the post-secondary level. Blake is a Fulbright Specialist with internationally recognized expertise in curriculum and program development, assessment, and strategic planning. She is a New York State Board of Regents Accreditation Reviewer (NYSED) and she serves on the City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Committee. Her special recognitions include an award for service learning from the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies. A CUNY alumna, Blake completed her doctorate in medieval literature at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

The prestigious ACE Fellows program will allow her to further build on years of experience as she positions herself to take on more senior roles in higher education. She plans to focus on student-centered strategic planning, advancement, and community partnership and engagement.

“Guided by my mentor and Guttman Community College President Scott Evenbeck, I was very intentional about choosing to spend the year at Westchester Community College under the leadership of President Miles,” says Blake. “She is a change agent dedicated to student success and access, and it is a great privilege to work under her leadership alongside the very talented faculty and staff at the college,” Blake adds.

“Selection as a host institution is a sign of the outstanding reputation and commitment to excellence at Westchester Community College, says Sherri Lind Hughes, director of the ACE Fellows Program. “An ACE Fellow chooses an institution not only for its rigorous academic environment, high quality efforts to educate students, but also its strong desire to invest in the future of higher education senior leadership as well,” she adds.

Blake’s mother, Viola Blake, 72, recently earned her associate degree in liberal arts from Westchester Community College. The elder Blake entered college after more than fifty years away from secondary school to successfully complete her academic program here. She is a testament to the range of students who pursue community college education, successfully complete programs, and fulfill their dreams.

Westchester Community College is the largest college in Westchester County, New York enrolling approximately 13,000 credit and an additional 13,000 non-credit students. For details on the college, visit

Nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of Fellows having served as senior leaders of colleges and universities. For more information on ACE, visit