CAIRO — The administration at Columbia-Greene Community College is hopeful that its new satellite program will begin this fall at Cairo Public Library.
County lawmakers decided in August to maintain the county’s contribution to the college at its 2020 level, using the $181,600 balance between the county’s 2021 contribution and 2020 contribution to establish a donor fund.
The Greene County Cares Fund is divided into four areas: tuition support for Greene County students; satellite programs in entrepreneurial studies to be offered at the Cairo Public Library and Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School; a transportation fund for Greene County students, which will take the form of gas cards, E-ZPasses, bus and cab fare; and an academic coaching program, which will provide tutoring, mentoring and coaching to Greene County students.
“If everything goes well, SUNY has recommended there be in-person classes this fall,” C-GCC Foundation Executive Director Joan Koweek said. “We’ll know that for sure the end of August, beginning of September.”
Greene County Legislator William Lawrence, R-Cairo, was pleased to hear that the new program will start soon.
“We were big pushers for getting a localized college credit class,” Lawrence said, referring to himself and fellow Cairo legislator Harry Lennon, a Democrat. “Our main goal was offering college credit in Greene County and Cairo fit the bill.”
Cairo is a central location, he said.
“The library also has a huge room with white boards that can be used for instruction,” Lawrence said.
The launch of the program was delayed by the pandemic, Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.
“I’m happy to see it finally come to fruition,” he said. “People can take these classes and be able to get training and get decent jobs in the county. That’s the goal — to keep people here.”
The county’s vision for local classes was supported by Columbia-Greene President Carlee Drummer, Linger said.
“It’s something that we’ve been asking for for quite awhile,” he said. “The new president was more than willing to listen. She thought it was a great idea to expand their enrollment, which was been declining, by reaching out to a new area to pick up some new people that otherwise may not have gone.”
The courses will be more accessible for residents in Greene County, Linger said.
“When talking about the Cairo area, Windham, Prattsville or Hunter, it’s significant travel time every for somebody to go over to the college,” he said. “The class times may not fit into their schedule if they have a fulltime job and are looking to expand their skills.”
The satellite program will allow Greene County residents to learn at their own pace, Linger said.
Through the scholarship program started by the county, about 50 students have received financial assistance, totaling $80,000, Koweek said.
“That’s outstanding,” Lawrence said. “Especially with the economic times, it’s good for them and their families as well to be able to take advantage of it.”
The mentoring program is also slated to start this fall, mirrored after that Galvan Graduate Program, which had a success rate of about 85%, Koweek said.
“The students enrolling in this program really do need a lot of one on one with our academic coach and we felt by having them on campus, the money would be better spent and their success rate would be much higher,” she said.
At the end of the program, students give a presentation about the resources they would not have known about without the help of the program, how well they used the resources and how they plan to use them in the future, Koweek said.
The program will support up to 10 Greene County students, Koweek said.
Successful completion of the program enables students to receive a $500 scholarship for the spring semester, Koweek said.
The transportation fund will also be more readily used once students return to campus in the fall, Koweek said.
“We’re hopeful that will go forward full speed ahead with that program for September,” she said.