ECC gets big boost from federal, state grants for student support

Buffalo Next

ECC gets big boost from federal, state grants for student support

SUNY Erie Community College made a big effort to go after state and federal grants this year, and it paid off with nearly $6 million in grants awarded for workforce development and student support initiatives.

Much of the credit goes to Kathy Callesto, ECC’s associate vice provost of institutional research assessment, accreditation and planning, whose team worked hundreds of hours amassing data and making a case for ECC to win some competitive grants, ECC trustees said at a recent board meeting.

Associate's Degree in auto mechanics

ECC received $1.2 million from the New York Power Authority for a new automotive technician program at Northland Workforce Training Center.

The grants include $2.2 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III Strengthening Institutions Program, $1.67 million in state funding from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new SUNY Transformation Fund, $1 million in federal funding to support career and technical education programs, and $1.2 million from the New York Power Authority for a new ECC automotive technician program at Northland Workforce Training Center.

People are also reading…

ECC’s increased focus on student success is part of a two-year strategic plan to set the stage for its next president during and after a search that’s expected to end with an appointment later this year.

In all, six grants support the plan’s goal of economic development and upward mobility for students by giving them a range of support services to ensure they stay in school and complete their degree programs.

Here’s a rundown of the grants:

$2.2. million Title III grant – The federal grant provides about $450,000 a year for five years to schools for supporting low-income students and improving their retention and graduation rates.

ECC was approved for its “Improving Students’ Ability to Start Here and Go Anywhere” program, which will strengthen new student orientation, completion of gatekeeper English and math courses, mentoring and retention of first-time, full-time degree-seeking students.

Daemen University and Villa Maria College were also approved for the Title III grants this year to support programs for first-time students.

 “It’s a very competitive grant, with about 100 pages of instruction to apply,” Callesto said. “I’m excited that Daemen and Villa also received it as that will be a huge boost to the economy here. Only about 30 schools a year receive this grant, so the fact that we have three in our region is really impressive.”

$1.67 million SUNY Transformation Grant – This grant comes out of the $75 million SUNY Transformation Fund that Hochul included in this year’s state budget to improve student success, support innovation and help meet workforce needs.

The fund will bring a pilot program tested and proven at City University of New York schools to 25 SUNY campuses across the state, 13 community colleges and 12 four-year schools. Three of the 25 are in Western New York: ECC, Buffalo State University and University at Buffalo.

Each school will receive funding to support inaugural cohorts of 150 students each. Under the CUNY model begun in 2007, the students will be able to get tuition waivers, funding to offset transportation and textbook expenses, academic assistance, personalized advisement and career development activities, said SUNY Chancellor John King.

Callesto said the grant will allow ECC to implement the program over the next several years.

“This program has shown to have an 85% retention rate” for first-time, first-year college students who continue on the next year, she said, while ECC’s retention rate is under 20% for those students.

$1.03 million Perkins V Grant – This money comes from the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act  to expand opportunities for youths and adults to follow career and technical education programs and earn credentials of value in the workforce. Callesto said ECC has received this grant previously, but this year it was increased from $60,000 to over $1 million “thanks to refinements in our federal reports that identified more students with needs.”

$1.17 million New York State Power Authority Grant – The Power Authority allocated this funding, which comes from the sale of unused hydropower from the Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant, to expand ECC’s successful auto tech training programs to Northland Workforce Training Center.

Automotive repair technicians are in high demand, and ECC’s existing auto tech programs include partnerships with West Herr Automotive Group and Northtown Automotive Cos. that employ dozens of ECC students while they earn associate degrees in automotive technology. The grant will allow ECC to partner with Northland to install the equipment needed to launch an auto tech program there in fall 2024.

Two other SUNY grants will provide $150,000 for ECC’s in-demand construction and building trades program and $36,500 to promote ECC’s microcredentials programs.

Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing Buffalo Niagara economy – from real estate to health care to startups. Read more at


Why UB physicians in training are struggling to negotiate a union contract

Wegmans hits Manhattan.

PUSH Buffalo is building a worker training center that focuses on green jobs.

M&T Bank’s earnings topped analyst forecasts.

Some Milk-Bone workers are on strike.

A troubled Buffalo nursing home is a candidate for a program targeting the nation’s poorest-performing facilities.

Affordable housing developers are collaborating on a $25 million revamp project of Playter Street.

Deadline to apply for pot licenses extended by two weeks, while enforcement of illegal sales expands.

The five 43North winners have high hopes for their time in Buffalo.

UB is getting a big donation to help build its new engineering building.

MacKenzie Scott is coming through for Neighborhood Health.

A developer wants tax breaks for a “luxury” apartment project in North Tonawanda.

Steve Case says cities need to step up their efforts to help startups.

controversial Lockport plastics plant gets tax breaks from IDA.

The 43North semifinalists were focused on Buffalo.

What can Buffalo Sabres fans expect at the concession stand this season?

The developer of a big Amherst apartment complex wants more than $2.1 million in tax breaks.

The developer of a closed Buffalo nursing home says it needs tax breaks for the project to proceed.

The owner of the Buffalo Grand Hotel is facing a big fine from Ontario securities regulators.

A big apartment project on Transit Road is starting to open.

The fallout from the UAW strike is spreading to GM’s plant in Lockport.

Robert E. Rich Jr. is the highest ranking local person on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.

Spectrum is offering set top boxes to turn ‘dumb’ TVs into smart ones – for a price.

It won’t cost nearly as much to turn up the thermostat this winter.

The state is making big changes to the struggling legal pot market.

The new Niagara County hospital opened last week.

Five reads from Buffalo Next:

1. As the United Auto Workers’ strike against the Detroit Three automakers enters its second month, local autoworkers are waiting to see if they will be directed to walk out.

2. How Western New York colleges are adapting to a shrinking student population.

3. How Mighty Taco grew into a Buffalo food icon.

4.  In ‘tipping point,’ Buffalo’s tourism market emerges from Niagara Falls’ shadow.

5. Kaleida wants to build a new hospital in Fredonia, but getting money for it has been difficult.

The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region’s economic revitalization. Email tips to or reach Buffalo Next Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up to get the latest in your inbox five days a week.

Email tips to

#lee-rev-content { margin:0 -5px; } #lee-rev-content h3 { font-family: inherit!important; font-weight: 700!important; border-left: 8px solid var(–lee-blox-link-color); text-indent: 7px; font-size: 24px!important; line-height: 24px; } #lee-rev-content .rc-provider { font-family: inherit!important; } #lee-rev-content h4 { line-height: 24px!important; font-family: “serif-ds”,Times,”Times New Roman”,serif!important; margin-top: 10px!important; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #lee-rev-content h3 { font-size: 18px!important; line-height: 18px; } }

#pu-email-form-business-email-article { clear: both; background-color: #fff; color: #222; background-position: bottom; background-repeat: no-repeat; padding: 15px 0 20px; margin-bottom: 40px; border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8); border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2); display: none; } #pu-email-form-business-email-article, #pu-email-form-business-email-article p { font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”; } #pu-email-form-business-email-article h2 { font-size: 24px; margin: 15px 0 5px 0; font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif; } #pu-email-form-business-email-article .lead { margin-bottom: 5px; } #pu-email-form-business-email-article .email-desc { font-size: 16px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 5px; opacity: 0.7; } #pu-email-form-business-email-article form { padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px; } #pu-email-form-business-email-article .disclaimer { opacity: 0.5; margin-bottom: 0; line-height: 100%; } #pu-email-form-business-email-article .disclaimer a { color: #222; text-decoration: underline; } #pu-email-form-business-email-article .email-hammer { border-bottom: 3px solid #222; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; padding: 0 10px 5px 10px; margin-bottom: -5px; font-size: 16px; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #pu-email-form-business-email-article form { padding: 10px 0 5px 0; } } .grecaptcha-badge { visibility: hidden; }