FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dolores Maxinne Bernal
California Awards $1.1 Million Grant to Laney College to Support Work with Formerly Incarcerated Adults
(OAKLAND, CA) On Monday, May 14, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors awarded $1.1 million to Laney College to promote the institution’s work with formerly incarcerated adults. Laney was one of 11 community colleges to receive the Chancellor’s Higher Education Innovation Award which totals $20 million. The awards recognize innovations that improve student success and are sustainable and capable of being scaled across the state.
Laney College’s Restoring Our Communities (ROC) is an academic program launched in October 2016 that provides support to formerly incarcerated adults seeking to obtain a higher education or career and technical training. ROC has innovated practices that not only contribute to the integrated goals of the college, but the larger goals of the city, county, and state. The program hires formerly incarcerated program leads to provide peer-to-peer support and mentoring. Program participants receive various services, including help navigating the admissions process, registering for classes, applying for financial aid, and provision of books, transportation, food assistance, and more.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the board of governors for the recognition of the innovative work happening at Laney College. Restoring Our Communities is one of our most innovative programs giving formerly incarcerated adults a chance to get their lives back by earning an associate degree, transferring to four-year institutions, or learning vocational skills to help them secure a good paying job,” said Laney President Dr. Tammeil Y. Gilkerson. “I also want to thank ROC Director Roger Viet Chung, Alejandra Landin, and Vincent Garrett for their passion to create a program that recognizes the impacts of mass incarceration in our communities and work to change the narrative that being formerly incarcerated determines a person’s worth and ability. Their mentorship not only empowers our students, but helps them navigate the complicated legal and regulatory systems that often keep people in a never-ending cycle.”
According to the 2015 “Senate Bill 105 Final Report” by the California Department of Finance, 96 percent of currently incarcerated individuals will be released back into the community. Coupled with California’s 2011 Public Safety Realignment Bill to help reduce the state prison population to 137.5 percent of designed capacity, local counties, such as Alameda are tasked with serving a growing reentry population, and to prevent recidivism though strategic services and partnerships.
“We’re glad that the state has recognized that ROC’s model can be replicated across multiple community colleges and we hope that we can be a leader in helping these institutions follow our service model,” said ROC Director Roger Viet Chung. “The heart and soul of ROC has been in our amazing formerly incarcerated staff, Alejandra and Vincent, who have for the most part provided the blueprint for effective service and effective peer mentoring. Without them, it would be impossible to be where we are today.”
“Improving student outcomes is the cornerstone of our Vision for Success and the programs these colleges and districts have developed are truly making a difference for thousands of our students,” said Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “On behalf of the board and the entire system, I extend my congratulations on this well-deserved honor, and thank our colleges for the incredible work they’re doing to help change our students’ lives for the better.”
A review committee, comprised of the chancellor’s executive staff and board members recommended the awardees and award amounts to the chancellor and board of governors. Those applicants receiving the highest scores are recommended for an Innovation Award.
Other colleges that received the award were:
- Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District (Shasta College) – $1,500,000
- Foothill-De Anza Community College District (De Anza College) – $1,900,000
- Glendale Community College – $1,900,000
- San Mateo Community College District (Skyline College) – $3,000,00
- Santa Rosa Junior College – $1,600,000
- College of the Redwoods – $1,200,000
- Imperial Valley College – $2,500,000
- Chaffey Community College – $1,000,000
- Kern Community College District (Bakersfield College) – $2,300,000
- Irvine Valley College – $2,000,000
About Laney College: Laney is one of four colleges in the Peralta Community College District. Laney offers over 100 high-quality academic and career technical education programs to an estimated 12,000 students. To learn more about Laney College visit, Laney.edu.
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