Kingsborough, library partner to create college accessibility

Dr. Reza Fakhari.
www1.cuny.edu

Get into the college mindset!

In partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library, Kingsborough Community College is offering free college courses at library branches throughout the borough. Their joint initiative “College Experience,” is an off-campus educational program that the college is hoping to expand to disadvantaged areas and raise interest in higher education, said the program’s founder.

“I decided to create something for the underserved and inspire people to go to college,” said Anna Geller. “A lot of people in Brooklyn don’t have a high school degree or were able to finish their GED. ‘College Experience’ is a program that consists of actually college classes to give people a taste of college.”

Geller adds that her program is providing a chance push locals towards acquiring something many do not foresee as a possibility.

“For a lot of non-degree holders, they don’t even think of college is step after high school,” she said. “But they’ll get to meet other students and faculty from their neighborhood who did.”

With a low number of college degree holders in certain neighborhoods and potential employers based in these areas also seeking to hire local, the program is a aiming to resolve that issue, said the vice president of the program.

“Our logic here is to impress upon Brooklyn residents because there are a lot of businesses that would like to hire from the communities they serve, but the thing is they can’t train workers without credentials and that’s where we come in,” said Dr. Reza Fakhari. “We will help them at a low-level and help with GED, and offer this in their neighborhood and make this free.”

The program launched last fall, offering courses on select days at Sheepshead Bay, Cypress Hills, Macon, and New Lots library branches, and will expand to include other neighborhoods of interest. And even select community based organizations such as Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration and Brooklyn Navy Yard, are also places that residents can go for courses. And soon Coney Island, Canarsie, and Flatbush branches will have the program available at their schools, according to Geller.

Participants will be able to attend all types of courses from criminal justice to culinary arts, which will be headed by two to three professors from the college that lead the classes, said Fakhari.

It is aimed at locals of all ages who are either interested in pursuing higher education, or seeking to attain some experience to switch gears. And it will be a chance to even appeal residents and encourage them beyond the library.

“We want to excite the interests of young people and those who are changing careers, and there will be opportunity to learn about enrollment,” said Fakhari.

As part of the initiative, attendees who take a library course are invited are followed-up with and get to visit the college to discuss possibly pursuing a degree.

Potential sign-ups for the program can discovered at a local library branch.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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