News Release: SUNY Poly Awarded $1.4M via Liberty Partnership Program to Deliver Research-Based Programming to Students at High-Risk of Dropping out of School

News Release: SUNY Poly Awarded $1.4M via Liberty Partnership Program to Deliver Research-Based Programming to Students at High-Risk of Dropping out of School

Monday, March 6, 2023 - 08:13
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For Release:           Immediate – March 6, 2023
Contact:                  Steve Ference, Director of University Marketing & Communications | (518) 429-7742 |   

New York State Department of Education Liberty Partnership Program Grant
Identifies Institutions of Higher Learning that can Help Drive
Positive Educational Outcomes for Youth

UTICA, NY – SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) announced that it has been awarded more than  $1.4 million from the New York State Department of Education through a Liberty Partnership Program grant to serve hundreds of at-risk students in the region who currently attend grades 5-12 by engaging them in a mixed-model school- and after school-based effort. The initiative seeks to facilitate positive outcomes and decrease the chances of students deciding to drop out of school. To meet this critical goal, the program will recruit and select at-risk students to participate; employ family engagement and case management strategies; and engage students in career and educational goal-setting, civic-minded projects, and after school and summer activities.

“On behalf of SUNY Poly, we are grateful that the State of New York Department of Education has provided this grant which will allow us, with our partners, to support students who are most at risk to persevere and finish secondary school,” said SUNY Poly Officer-in-Charge Dr. Andrew Russell. “Our faculty and partners are leaders in early intervention programs, and this grant will help SUNY Poly continue to connect with our local communities to provide young students with meaningful options so that they can live up to their full potential and drive the prosperity of communities across Central New York.”

The five-year grant will enable SUNY Poly students to serve as mentors and provide Liberty Partnership Program participants with information about various vocational careers they might choose. Participants include students from Little Falls City School District, Herkimer Central School District, Central Valley Central School District, Dolgeville Central School District, Frankfort-Schuyler Central School District, and Mt. Markham Central School District. SUNY Poly will work with Mohawk Valley Community College and SUNY Morrisville to sponsor summer career-oriented sessions, such as robotics, health professions, agriculture, and computer-oriented camps for students enrolled in the initiative.

“I am proud that SUNY Poly will spearhead this effort and am thankful to the New York State Department of Education for fostering our ability to provide a continuity of services throughout a student’s secondary school progression to help address factors that might otherwise contribute to their dropping out of school, diminishing positive life and career options, and harming their sense of subjective well-being,” said Dr. Joanne Joseph, SUNY Poly Interim Dean of the College of Health Sciences. “We look forward to partnering with school districts as we assess and meet the needs of students who are impacted by challenges related to rural poverty, in addition to the ramifications of COVID-19 lockdowns, in order to assist them in completing their high school education and preparing them for the workforce. We are also excited to work with MVCC and SUNY Morrisville to develop and deploy hands-on learning camps covering key topics that can open the doors to future educational opportunities.”

The Liberty Partnerships Program was established in 1988 to address the significantly elevated high school dropout rate among New York’s youth. The authorizing legislation stated, “the failure of many young New Yorkers to complete their secondary education limited their opportunity for a life of fulfillment, prevents them from advancing into postsecondary education and hinders the State’s efforts to provide a well-trained workforce for business and industry in New York.” To address these concerns, the Liberty Partnerships Program seeks to provide for a continuity of services throughout a student's progression through secondary school for those students who are identified as at-risk of dropping out.

This grant complements a recent SUNY Poly award for which Dr. Joseph and Dr. Veronica Tichenor, SUNY Poly Professor of Sociology, received $750,000 from Herkimer County as part of a Herkimer County System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Project grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The effort stems from a larger grant awarded to Herkimer County which aims to enhance school-based mental health services, proactively identify areas of concern, and provide trauma-informed care for children who are involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This past grant has enabled the evaluation of the overall project by providing quantitative and qualitative data analysis.


About SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly)
SUNY Poly is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience programs at its Albany campus, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, game design, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica campus; thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners since its inception. For information visit