Thanks for joining us for another episode of Patrons & Partnerships, presented by the Library Partnership Branch of the Alachua County Library District.
Our guest today is Steve Alcime, an advising specialist with the Blount Center at Santa Fe College. Steve is one of the advisors with the TRIO program at Santa Fe, which includes the Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and student support services programs; in this episode, we discuss the TRIO program, a national program which aims to support low-income and first-generation college students attain their degree goals.
For more information, visit Santa Fe's website here.
Visit the Alachua County Library District website to browse our collection and to find other resources and services offered at your favorite, local library!
You can view a transcript of this podcast on ACLD's YouTube Channel.
Hi, thanks for joining us for another episode of Patrons & Partnerships. Our guest today is Steve Alcime, an advising specialist with the Blount Center at Santa Fe College. Steve is one of the advisors with the TRIO program at Santa Fe, which includes the Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and student support services programs. [music]Eleanore:
How are you doing today?Steve:
Fantastic. How are you?Eleanore:
Pretty good. Thank you for agreeing to the interview.Steve:
You can start whenever you're ready!Steve:
Right. So I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Steve Alcime, I am an interim academic coach for the North Central Florida Educational Opportunity Center. I am from South Florida, a small farm town called Immokalee. I moved here to Gainesville to pursue my education and now hold a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management, as I definitely want to use it to help and serve others.Eleanore:
And could you tell us a little bit more about the TRIO program?Steve:
Absolutely. So the Federal TRIO programs are federal outreach and student service programs. They are designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO currently includes eight programs, and they're targeted to serve and assist low income individuals, first generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline. A little bit about the history of TRIO, the initiative actually began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. He signed the Educational Opportunity Act of 1964. This was established as an experimental program known as Upward Bound. Then in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. Finally, another program that they also included was the student support services, and that was launched in 1968. That's where they get the name TRIO from, as it was originally those three federally funded programs encouraged to access higher education for low income students. By 1998, the Federal TRIO Program had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans, and they added the Educational Opportunity Center in 1972. So TRIO has been around for quite some time, 50 plus years. Our program specifically, I work for the North Central Florida Educational Opportunity Center, which is essentially a consortium between Santa Fe College, Florida Gateway College, and we have a vast amount of community partners that we're working with. A few of the services that the North Central Florida Educational Opportunity provides include information about GED and adult education. We work to establish individual achievement plans, we discuss and help with career interests and counseling. And we provide baseline educational testing, such as the [???] and the PERT test, we talk about financial literacy, education, college financial advising, information about post secondary programs in the area, computer lab assistance, follow-up monitoring, and of course, referrals to social services or faith based assistance. Now, our mission statement here at the North Central Florida Opportunity Center is to create educational and equity opportunities for all North Central Florida residents from all different walks of life. Essentially, like I said, we provide free educational and career and financial aid advisement to adults. And we can help you apply to any accredited school, college or vocational program. So essentially, we're here to serve and help people bridge the gap between what they want to do and where they're at. So we meet them where they're at, and we help them get to where they want to go.Eleanore:
Wow, I actually didn't know that it was a federal program. That explains why you don't have much information on the website about it, if it's something that's nationwide, not just something here in Gainesville. Do you - I mean, obviously, if you're referring to other organizations, you have partnerships with local organizations?Steve:
Yes, we’re working with community partners, and we're trying to spread the word and let people know that we are here, and we're here to help. And of course, you know, just like you said, community partners. So we are here on the podcast today spreading the word.Eleanore:
What are the eligibility requirements for TRIO?Steve:
So essentially, it is for anybody who is looking to get back into school. So essentially, most likely, we were looking for first generation low income students. But that doesn't necessarily mean we can't help everybody. But the goal for us is to identify low income first generation students and help them apply to school, help them find a way to pay for school. And then of course, follow up with them to make sure that they go through the process and complete school. So essentially, you know, you could be 16 years old and have dropped out of high school, and you want to go and finish your GED or you can be 35 years old and you want to have a career change. And you just need a little bit of advising on what to do next and what the next steps would be.Eleanore:
And you provide support throughout the entire process? You don't just get people in, you actually assist them all the way up to graduation?Steve:
So what we do is we identify them, we help them be - we work on their individual action plan, and then we go from there. So depending on the case by case basis, we will follow up. And if not, we'll give them a contact of individuals that can help them throughout the entire process. Now, the North Central Florida Educational Opportunities Center, we serve seven counties, with Alachua County, Baker County, Bradford County, Columbia County, Dixie County, Gilchrist and Union County. And so we're working with those individual counties to help bridge that gap between education and poverty.Eleanore:
Okay, so you're - this TRIO program assists basically the entirety of Central, North Central Florida.Steve:
Yes, essentially, that is our target audience.Eleanore:
And where can people find more information about the TRIO program? Anywhere online? Anywhere you're doing outreach?Steve:
The best way to find information about the Educational Opportunities Center that we have here, the North Central Florida Educational Opportunities Center, would be to visit us online. That's at sfollege.edu/eoc. And if they would like to, they can always come in person to our office here at the downtown Blount Center, is where we're housed at currently, and we are at 401 Northwest Sixth Street, room DC-9. But, yeah, we have information online, we have information here in person. And we're working to spread the word, just like now.Eleanore:
What are your office hours at the Blount Center?Steve: So essentially, we have - we work here from 7:30 to 5:
00. We're typically in office Monday through Friday. Now, depending on what's going on during the week, we do have outside of traditional hours. So we could, you know, work events, whether an afternoon or over the weekends. It really just depends on like, the case by case basis, and how to assist the people as efficiently as possible.But typically, when I say 7:
30 to 5pm, we're here in office, but if they send out emails, we're always willing to work with them.Eleanore:
Is there anything else you wanted to talk about today regarding the TRIO program, or any other opportunities that Santa Fe is providing?Steve:
Just essentially, I've covered most of it, I just wanted to say - me personally, this is a great, great program, because I do fall in the category of first generation low income. So this speaks volumes to me, this work. I am an individual that education essentially was my ticket out. Like I said earlier, I'm from Immokalee, Florida. It's down between Naples and Fort Myers area. It's actually ranked one of the lowest income cities in Florida, I think it's like top five, if not, you know, lower than that. And we only have about 5% of the population that holds a Bachelor's degree. And I was able to break into that 5%. So this is just amazing work. And I want to just spread the word because like I said, education was my ticket out. And this provided a lot of opportunities for me myself, and of course, my family. So we're here to promote it. And we're here to help people. But TRIO, this, this - this grant that we work for right now, the North Central Florida Opportunities Center, would have been amazing for me, I'm thankful that I was able to graduate. Now, this program here has been established for five years. We are in, of course, in year one. And we're trying to reach 850 potential students and possibly more. But that's the goal right now. And we're trying to… The process can be a little bit difficult and challenging, especially if you don't have the assistance or guidance needed. So I want people to know that we are out here. And we are more than willing to reach out and work around to help you get to where you need to be.Eleanore:
I appreciate what TRIO is doing. I'm sure that the people you've assisted so far and will assist in the future appreciate it. And I hope we'll see you guys table here again.Steve:
Absolutely, and we will look forward to working alongside of you as well.Eleanore:
Steve, thank you so much for talking with us today. This has been a very interesting conversation.Steve:
Absolutely. My pleasure.Eleanore:
I'm sure you're busy with everything you have going on. So thank you very much. If I had video, you would see that I'm waving. [laughs]Steve:
[laughs] And I’m waving back. Eleanore: Alright. Have a good day. Thank you. You too. Bye bye. [music] Storytime on the Green is back for the new year starting January 11th. Visit our site at aclib.us/storytimeonthegreen for a list of times and locations for all branches. Partnership staff hold storytimes at Smokey Bear Parkoff of 15th every Thursday at 10:
30am, weather permitting, and we have a representative from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to help you sign up. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides preschool children with a free book every month until age 5 - if you have a child under age 5 in your household, it’s a great opportunity to encourage their love of reading. Have you heard the news? Your library card now grants you access to hoopla, a music and video streaming service with thousands of albums, comics, and movies you can enjoy on any device with the hoopla app. There's no need to place a hold - all of the content is available on demand at any time. To check it out, go to aclib.us/hoopla. Looking to encourage your child’s love of science and technology? Then place a hold on one of ACLD’s STEM kits, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Gainesville. Each kit includes hands-on educational exploration of a STEM topic, with an interactive toy, book, and DVD on topics ranging from electricity to physics. Check out the full listing of kits at aclib.us/stem-kits!