It's Your Money: Rochester Educational Opportunity Center
Posted at: 03/11/2013 5:49 PM | Updated at: 03/11/2013 5:50 PM
All too often we hear about our tax dollars being wasted or we're told where the money is going but we never actually see the results. But here is an example of your tax dollars at work.
The Rochester Educational Opportunities Center is a school located in downtown Rochester. Students receive accelerated training in things like cosmetology, culinary arts and nursing. Tuition is paid for completely with your tax dollars.
The REOC has been around since the 1970's. They are now located in a new building on Chestnut Street. But what you might not know is that some of your tax dollars that go to the SUNY schools are being divided up and given to places like the REOC. So students can attend tuition free.
26-year-old Cynthia Joseph is a licensed practical nurse in the cardiac intensive care unit at Rochester General Hospital. Lavetta Bounds is a 44- year-old mother of five trying to get her GED. Your money paid for their education at REOC.
Cynthia Joseph, LPN at Rochester General Hospital, said, “I would not have gotten to where I am now unless REOC was available.”
Lavetta Bounds, studying to get GED, said, “If I, had to say, for my tax dollars to send someone to school who is willing, ambitious, it's a great thing.”
Every year, 1300 students just like Lavetta and Cynthia go to the REOC for free thanks to your state tax dollars.
Roosevelt Mareus, Dean, Executive Director of REOC, said, “Many of our students are under served and under educated. They come to REOC for an opportunity. A lot of them have faced many challenges. So they come here trying to get back on track.”
The executive director says many students are on welfare, living off public assistance. So not having the burden of tuition, allows them to focus on learning, giving them skills to get a job and get off welfare.
Joseph said, “Now with REOC going through the program, graduating, getting their LPN. They're able to get off the system and now contribute their tax dollars into the REOC.”
And you can actually go see your money at work. The culinary school has a bistro where you can get lunch or dinner. The cosmetology school offers salon services at low cost. Both are right on campus.
Mareus said, “We are transparent, we let you know how we spend it.”
And students like Lavetta and Cynthia encourage you to check the school out. They're proud of their accomplishments and grateful to taxpayers for giving them the opportunity to lead a productive life.
Bounds said, “I'd be willing to pay my tax dollars for that and I thank the taxpayers that are helping me now.”
Joseph said, “They allowed those doors to be opened and I never looked back. I never closed them and I’m going.”
Cynthia is from New York City. Since the REOC is the only center of its kind to offer an LPN program for free, she came here and now she works here. Dean Roosevelt Mareus says it happens all the time. People come here for school and end up staying in our area putting their money into our economy.
Students have to take a test of basic adult education to get accepted into the REOC. Also, based on the programs, students might also be evaluated in other areas. For more information on REOC, click here. School leaders really encourage you to check it out and ask questions.