A coalition of groups is protesting a huge cut to a program that provides job training and adult education.
This spring, the Rochester City School Board pulled funding for the Office of Adult and Career Education Services, known as OACES.
Adult students will no longer have access to learning English as a second language, employment training, or a secondary education.
Juan Eniyo is one of 500 adults taking advantage of OACES. Eniyo was a practicing dentist in Cuba.
He says this program will help him first learn English and then get a job, especially in healthcare.
OACES has been home to healthcare students for over 25 years. Ninety-nine percent of students eventually become employed in our community.
Rochester City School District Board of Education President Van White says this program ran out money, and due to the $40 million deficit, they can no longer afford to take away from the kids.
“I am sure Reverend Stewart, and many other people throughout the community, believe we need to do a better job,” White said. “We have limited resources. We have to use them towards that purpose.”
Stewart called a press conference with community leaders to save OACES.
Patricia Holloman, former director of the OACES CNA program, says that this program is needed in addition to other adult services.
“The community is so diverse,” she said. “Between refugees, immigrants, reading levels, age appearance – it would take all those education facilities to really service the community.”
Eniyo says he is scared, but his hopes of getting job are now in the hands of a higher power.
The OACES program will not be eliminated entirely. Van White expects funding to be restored after this year.