EOPS + CalWORKs Award Ceremony 2021

May 23rd, 2021 - 6:28pm

COM Recognizes Low-income Students who Earned Awards, Scholarships During 2020-2021 School Year

College of Marin (COM) celebrated more than 50 of its EOPS and CalWORKs students for earning a degree or certificate, transferring to a university, and/or receiving a scholarship this year during a virtual celebration held on May 14.

To qualify for these awards, students must be participating in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) or California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs). EOPS is an equity program that provides over and above support services for low-income, first generation students; CalWORKs assists low-income parents who qualify for county benefits. These programs are designed to help students overcome systemic barriers to reach their educational goals of graduation, transfer, or entering the workforce.

COM’s Director of EOPS, CARE, and CalWORKs Becky Reetz said she is particularly proud of the achievements of the students being recognized this year as many of them faced financial, job, housing or food instability, yet still achieved their educational and career goals. Despite overall program numbers declining due to the pandemic, the EOPS and CalWORKs programs at COM had a 55 percent increase in the numbers of certificates and degrees earned this year. Reetz said this variance from the previous year is demonstrative of the tenacity of these students, despite facing major additional obstacles.

“These students have so much strength and determination and they’re working really, really hard. A lot of them are working part-time or are single parents, and a lot of them are students of color and have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “So when you start to take in all of the factors that these students have had to overcome this year, and then you look at this achievement, I think that speaks directly to resilience and their fierce dedication to their education.”

Reetz acknowledged that students overcame unique challenges due to the pandemic.

“Any scenario you can imagine, our students have experienced it,” Reetz said. “The first really glaring thing that the pandemic and the move to a remote environment revealed was a digital divide. I’m really proud of how COM stepped up to meet this need by identifying loaner laptops and other resources to ensure our students could be successful. And this awards ceremony demonstrates that. These students have overcome tremendous challenges and are ready for what’s next.”

For more information about how to help support the EOPS and CalWORKs programs at COM, visit advancement.marin.edu/your-impact.

To learn more about how to access these programs at COM, visit http://ss.marin.edu/eops-calworks.