Hudson Valley Partners on Educational Facility in Albany

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“I look at this as a game changer,” said James Thomas, referring to the new Capital South Campus Center, an educational facility opening this fall under his directorship.

The center includes college courses, workforce development, job training programs, and free educational resources for the community, and is located in the south end neighborhood of Albany at 20 Warren Street.

“I look at it like a buffet. You choose what is interesting or pleasing to you,” said Thomas.

The Capital South Campus Center was funded with a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development that totalled close to $5 million. The grant proposal was jointly written by Trinity Alliance, an Albany social welfare agency, and the Albany Housing Authority.

Capital South’s mission and programs are geared toward serving the local population.

“We have put support in place to meet the needs of our students,” said Thomas. This support includes drop off daycare, accessible public transportation, and academic support services.

Hudson Valley Community College itself is offering five courses at the center, including Intro to Criminal Justice, Intro to Sociology, Basic Math with Study Skills, Business Math, and Business Concepts and Applications. Off campus courses begin on September 8th.

Deb Kowalski, Off-Campus Coordinator at Hudson Valley, said that partnering at Capital South is consistent with the college’s overall mission, “To bring education into the community, and therefore hopefully encourage folks to continue education.”

Hudson Valley offers courses across the Capital Region in local high schools and satellite campuses. Partnering with Trinity Alliance on Capital South continues the school’s work to provide accessible education to underserved communities. Hudson Valley is also involved in urban communities through its affiliated Educational Opportunity Centers and the Albany Extension Center.

Other higher education partners at Capital South include Schenectady Community College, UAlbany, Empire State College, Saint Rose, Maria College, and Siena. Kowalski said that educational partners “worked not to compete with each other but to compliment.”

The facility also includes office space for Trinity Alliance and other community organizations to collaborate on increasing the social welfare for local residents.

Albany School District had the lowest graduation rate in 2013 (53.8 percent) in the Capital Region, according to the New York Department of Education. 58.1 percent of students in the district are considered to be economically disadvantaged.

Thomas said, “The mission is to increase the median income of the people in Albany.”

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