People throughout Onondaga County want a better life – and they believe in their ability to create one through education. However, circumstances in their life cause them to stop short. With this campaign, we’re asking you to believe in them – believe in their ability to achieve a better life with the right support and believe in the power of education to create a better community.

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Better Prepared for College

Students who took college courses in high school are 10% more likely to complete a Bachelor's degree 

As the traditional African proverb goes, "it takes a village to raise a child." Taking it a step further, it takes a village to raise a student, a graduate, an employee, a parent, a citizen, a community. At Onondaga Community College, our first institutional core value is "keep students at the center of all we do." Our definition of a student is not as narrow as someone enrolled at OCC though. By strengthening our PreK-12 and community partnerships our goal is to improve the transition to college by improving college readiness, well before many students even start thinking about college.

What we're doing to help
  • Enrichment activities that connect OCC with elementary and middle schools in the Syracuse City School District
  • Provide high school students with pre-college supports, interventions and acceleration strategies
  • Affordable early college credit programs
  • Summer bridge programs to improve college transition

A Family's Plan for College

The Walters family knows an outstanding opportunity when it sees one. The new OCC Advantage program is as good as it gets. “It’s a gift. It’s incredible,” said Kate Walters. “We’re thrilled for all the hard work everyone did for us to be able to participate in this.” Read the rest of the Walters' family story.

Better Access to Student Supports

65% of students drop a class
because of the price of textbooks

The possibility of a better life should be available to everyone in our community, but things like the lack of a true support system, a difficult upbringing, financial stresses, or family situations can stand in the way.  Expensive textbooks might be just an annoyance for some but can be a huge burden, standing in the way of an education for others. OCC is looking to remove these potential barriers by providing better access to the support systems many of our students need to complete their education.

What we're doing to help
  • Gathering emergency funding for books, transportation, childcare and housing
  • Supporting OCC’s on campus food pantry
  • Developing resources for financial literacy programs
  • Connecting students in need with community services and agencies

Succeeding @ OCC

It’s never too late to get it right. Chris White is proof. He’s a 35-year-old student who is the proud father of a soon-to-be 2-year-old daughter. He’s a high honors student who will earn his first college degree next summer. He’s also a survivor of the life he used to live. Read more of Chris's story.

Better Skilled Workforce

Syracuse’s poverty rate is the
13th highest in the country 

It is an inescapable fact that Central New York faces pockets of poverty in both rural and urban areas that rank among the highest in the nation; more than a quarter of our working-age population is in need of a job or a better-paying job; and as many as half the children in parts of our area live in poverty. OCC is dedicated to reversing these trends and building a better future for our community through its workforce improvement efforts.

What we're doing to help
  • Funding to support career exploration and job shadowing visits
  • Applied learning grants for apprenticeships and internships
  • Equipping our teaching spaces with relevant technology and materials
  • Grants to reduce out-of-pocket costs for adult students in workforce training programs

Manufacturing a New Career

Thanks to a program at Onondaga Community College, Danny Dziadula was able to begin his new career two-and-a-half years later at Inficon, a global company which provides world-class instruments for gas analysis. Its growing facility is just south of the shuttered New Process Gear factory off Fly Road in East Syracuse. Read more about Danny's experience.

Better Path to Advanced Degrees + Careers

63% of jobs in New York State require some form of post-secondary education

We know that once someone earns a degree, the educational attainment level of the entire family is increased, broadening its impact with every generation. The path to earning a degree can be difficult though. It's our goal to develop initiatives that help students complete their degree, enriches the process of earning it, and opens the door to taking their education, and their entire family's education, even further.

What we're doing to help
  • Opportunities for experiential learning such as study abroad and research experiences
  • A robust Honors College
  • Scholarships and completion grants for part-time study and summer courses
  • Seamless transfer to 4-year institutions

Finding her path

“I’ve learned leadership and communication skills. This kind of leadership requires all of us to do things together, to have fun and to make a difference in campus and community life. I only have classes two days a week but I come to campus every day because I love being here with PTK.” Read more about Mikayla's story.

Contact us

Our team is ready to assist you. Don't hesitate to contact us with any comments, questions or concerns. 

Campaign Steering Committee
  • Sandra L. Baker '80, Hon. Chair   - Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc.
  • Alicia S. Calagiovanni, Esq. – Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC
  • Joseph Chemotti, CPA – Dannible & McKee, LLP
  • Judith R. Cowden – Kinney Drugs  
  • Patricia H. Deferio – MVP Healthcare  
  • Dennis J. Hebert CFP ‘67 Chair – Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC
  • Peter G. King AIA – King and King Architects, LLP
  • Orrin B. MacMurray P.E. – C&S Companies
  • Lisa R. Moore – Onondaga Community College Foundation
  • Seth M. Mulligan – TCG Player
  • Hasoni Pratts – Community Leader
  • Mark W. Re ‘85  - Howard Hanna Real Estate
  • Edward M. Riley – Brine Wells Development, LLC    
  • James N. Seeley Esq. – Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC
  • Nicole Schlater – Onondaga Community College  
  • Kelly A. Venturini - Onondaga Community College Foundation