By: Ivana Osmanovic, 2017-2018 Work First Fellow
Eight colleges fashioned themselves in an oval in the red room traditionally used for employment skills classes. Clients checked in at a registration table, received a name tag, a map of the layout of the room, and guiding questions to ask the college representatives. Eagerness beamed from the room as clients expressed their interest in higher education to the representatives.
America Works, Brooklyn hosted their first Higher Education Fair on September 28th, featuring institutions from all over the New York City area including CUNY schools, St. Francis and Brooklyn LIU. Over sixty clients were in attendance, each having the opportunity to directly interact with the college representatives and ask them questions about their respective institutions.
The Higher Education Fair served as a space for clients to discuss and learn about various education interests, ranging from Associate’s to Master’s degrees.Clients asked questions regarding financial aid, majors, and school schedules. Many expressed interest in enrolling in programs for the upcoming semester and left eager to begin their applications.
With all the excitement happening in the office, the America Works, Brooklyn staff decorated their own name tags to showcase and represent their alma maters. It was such a valuable addition to the event to have our enthusiastic staff members converse with clients and each other about their college experiences.
After the event a client approached me, asking if we could work on the application for a CUNY nursing program together. We sat down and discussed the opportunities a degree in nursing would offer her while filling out the application. It was such a meaningful experience to help the client finish the application and help her take her first steps towards higher education.
My role as the College Counselor within the America Works, Brooklyn office allows me to direct clients towards higher education opportunities and help them navigate various barriers and questions they face during the application and financial aid process. The Higher Education Fair served as a platform to inform and excite many individuals about higher education opportunities.