Craven Community College (Craven CC) received a $1.18 million, five-year, federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education in August 2016 to establish a TRIO Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) at the college’s campus.
According to former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., “Educational Opportunity Centers serve as unique information hubs for adults seeking more insight into the resources available to them in pursuing higher education, quality work and the American Dream.”
The funds enabled the college to hire a one full-time director, two full-time outreach specialists and three part-time tutors. The EOC will perform outreach and provide services to annually serve 1,000 low-income, first-generation college students, and military veterans who express a desire to enroll, or is enrolled in a program of postsecondary education.
The EOC will provide academic and other support services to help Craven County adults and high school seniors enroll in a college or post-secondary education program based on their individual goals. This program is not specific to Craven CC. Interested students may choose a college or university of their choice.
Some of the services provided by EOC staff include: career planning/counseling, academic advising, tutoring, and financial aid and scholarship assistance. EOC will also assist participants with locating community services, and with referral services to high school equivalency (e.g., GED®) and ESL (English as a Second Language) programs. The services provided by this grant are provided at no charge to qualified applicants.
The EOC program will primarily target high school seniors and adults 19 years of age or older, and veterans of any age. There is a strong preference toward individuals who demonstrate financial need. Persons who have previously received a bachelor’s degree are not eligible.
“While there are pre-qualifications, we encourage anyone who feels they may qualify to contact us,” said Laureel Butler, director of the EOC.
Butler said the EOC team is dedicated to working with each student in order to remove barriers from their pursuit of higher education. She said that participants in the program will receive personalized service. “If the student cannot make it to our location for tutoring, we will arrange to meet them at a location convenient to them,” said Butler.
Butler said, “The EOC is a wonderful program to have here in Craven County. As the County continues to see more growth in business development, it is important that our residents are prepared to seize new opportunities. The EOC will assist residents with obtaining the education or training needed for them to be more marketable in this rising economy.”
The EOC staff will be holding an open house on Tuesday, February 14th from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Student Center at the New Bern campus. There will also be an Open House at the Stanley White Center February 25 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Attendees will learn more about the program and fill out an application should they fit the qualifications.
For more information and application, visit the college’s website at www.cravencc.edu/eoc or call (252) 638-1236.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.