SUNY Cortland receives over a million in funding for education programs

(Photo via SUNY Cortland).

SUNY Cortland recently announced it received $2 million in state grant funding “​​to help ease the nation’s teacher shortage by creating alternative paths” for individuals working in schools to become certified teachers, according to a news release.

According to the release, SUNY Cortland was one of two SUNY institutions to receive part of a $13.6 million package of workforce development awards from Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development. SUNY Cortland was the lone higher education institution to win awards in both of the programs funded, and a total of 12 New York state colleges and universities received grants.

SUNY Cortland received about $1 million in grant funding each through two programs – the Alternative Teacher Certification Program and the Upskilling Paraprofessionals Program. The release noted that the grand funding will now provide opportunities for adults who aren’t in college but interested in becoming certified educators.

“The point of these grants is to work with district partners in our region to create alternative pathways to teaching that can help teaching assistants and paraprofessionals to continue in their jobs while working on their teaching credentials,” said Andrea Lachance, dean of SUNY Cortland’s School of Education. “These types of certification pathways are for career changers.  The hope is that these alternative pathways will allow more people to enter the teaching profession and help address regional teaching shortages.”

According to Hochul, the Alternative Teacher Certification Program is a pathway to the teaching profession that “may help reduce time and cost barriers for candidates interested in a teaching career.”

“This program provides funding to expand existing alternative teacher certification programs or develop and implement new high-quality, research-based, graduate-level alternative teacher certification programs,” Hochul said.

The Upskilling Paraprofessionals Program, the release noted, targets individuals who are already working in schools as teaching assistants and are an essential part of the teacher pipeline given their prior classroom experience and strong connections to the communities they serve.

Lachance said in the release that grant funding will begin July 1 of this year, and the first year of funding will be a planning year. People will start in the programs during the 2025-26 school year.

Further details on SUNY Cortland receiving the grant funding, the programs offered and information on the university’s school of education can be found here.