What is beam?

BEAM stands for the Bridge to Employment and Academic Marketplace, a federally funded education and employment program and research study being implemented at workforce American Job Centers in nine counties in New York State. The Workforce Development Board of Herkimer, Madison, and Oneida Counties (HMO WDB) received a workforce innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and has collaborated with the Workforce Development Boards of Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego Counties, Broome-Tioga Counties, and Tompkins County to design and deliver a new and innovative employment and academic program at their career centers. HMO WDB has teamed up with an agency called The Policy & Research Group (PRG) to study the effectiveness of its newly-designed program in helping individuals enroll in postsecondary training programs and/or access employment opportunities.

Oneida County has a variety of schools and training programs to get you back to post-secondary training. See the list below and ask an Outreach Coordinator how you can get started


The BEAM Outreach Coordinators are available to help you get through the hurdles of returning to college and training. Whatever your school choices are, we’ll be there with you.

If you want to go back to school, you have many choices. Here is just the local list of colleges to get your future started now:

If you need training, you can visit:

Financial aid assistance

Paying for college shouldn’t be hard.  The BEAM Outreach Coordinators can also help you plan summer work, part time work and find the right counseling for negotiating your awards. We can help you get your forms in order, competed accurately and submitted on time.



  • PELL
  • TAP – New York State Tuition Assistance Program
  • On-Point for College (Oneida & Herkimer counties only)
  • WIOA (Visit your local American Job Center to learn more)


where can you get help

Colleges and Institutions in the regions:

Mohawk Valley Community College – www.mvcc.edu

Herkimer College – www.herkimer.edu

Broome Community College – www.broomecommunitycollege.edu

Utica College – www.utica.edu

SUNY Polytechnical Institute – www.sunyit.edu

Oneida County BOCES – www.oneida-boces.org

DCMO BOCES – www.dcmoboces.com

SUNY Delhi – www.delhi.edu

Broome-Tioga BOCES – www.btboces.org

Tompkins County Community College – www.tc3.edu

Ithaca College – www.ithaca.edu

Discover Data Science – www.discoverdatascience.org

Free Courses and local tutoring assistance

Wondering where you can get help with courses or tests? Here are a few ideas:

WERC – The Women’s Employment and Resource Center is located at 185 Genesee Street, Suite 601, Utica, NY.  WERC is a non-profit organization serving women in need of job readiness services in the Herkimer-Oneida-Madison counties for over 16 years. They offer assistance with resumes, cover letters and interviews along with a 5 week in-depth training course called Professional Pathways: Navigation to Confident Business Communications.

Education Opportunity Center – MVCC offers additional educational tutoring, mentoring and career planning through the EOC. Their goal is to “work with individuals and their families to overcome barriers and successfully reach their educational goals. We will achieve this by assessing job interests and skill levels to develop an individualized short/long term training, employment, and educational plan”.

MVCC –  If you are a registered student with Mohawk Valley Community College, whether on campus or online, the college’s Academic Support Center is there to help you. All services are free, closed Saturday and Sunday.

Utica Public Library – If you need additional computer instruction or just need help with your iPhone, iPad or other smartphone, you can receive it at the Utica Public Library for free. Check out the library calendar to see if there is a class that interests you  at www.uticapubliclibrary.org/calendar.

On-Point for College – This organization offers assistance with college tours, transportation, or basic needs like winter coats and eyeglasses. No barrier is too big for On-Point.

Joining the military? Visit http://asvabpracticetestonline.com to prepare for the ASVAB test. Practice tests and pre-tests are available.

Other helpful resources:

Test preparation:

We’re Here to Help

If you live in Oneida County and are an adult 19 years old or older, left college but would like to go back, we can help. We can guide you through the sometimes difficult hurdles of college admissions, financial aid and registration.

For more information please contact:

Veronica Miller, WIF BEAM Project Director

Phone: 315-798-5537      Email: vmiller@working-solutions.org

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of participating in the beam program?

While community members can’t choose the individual program they want to join if they enroll in BEAM, there are lots of reasons why individuals will benefit from participating, regardless of the program they’re assigned to:

  • First and foremost, it’s important to remember that all participants who enroll in BEAM will receive career support. Both programs offer high-quality services provided by motivated, engaged staff who are there to help participants work towards their education, training, and career goals.
  • The majority of the individuals (80%!) who enroll in BEAM will work with a regional Outreach Coordinator to help guide them through their career pathway, while a smaller number of individuals will be working with center staff at their local American Job Center to learn what opportunities are available to them. Supportive staff are available and ready to help with either program!
  • While all community members are able to receive services at their local career centers, they can only receive services through the Guided Career Pipeline program if they enroll in BEAM. If individuals don’t enroll in BEAM, they will have no chance of receiving the services offered by the Outreach Coordinators through this program.
  • Participating in the BEAM study will not only help the participant individually, but also the community and state as a whole! Community members who enroll have a unique opportunity to contribute to the knowledge base about what types of employment programs work in their community, and inform how American Job Centers might be able to improve their programs and services for everyone in the future. Your support and participation will significantly increase the success of the BEAM program.
  • The BEAM program is a free community resource that you (or your clients) could potentially access to help reach career goals.

If you think that you, or your client, could benefit from educational or career guidance, contact your regional Outreach Coordinator to learn more about how to join the BEAM program.

what does”currently enrolled in a postsecondary training program” Mean?

We define being currently enrolled in a postsecondary training program to mean that an individual has officially registered for a class or is currently taking a class at a postsecondary training institution (e.g. community college, university, BOCES, etc.). An individual may have applied, been accepted, applied for or received financial aid, met with an admissions counselor, and/or confirmed or accepted their registration with an institution (without having yet registered for a class) and may still be eligible to participate in the BEAM program (assuming they meet all the other criteria). Regional BEAM Outreach Coordinators can answer specific questions about how to determine if an individual is or is not considered currently enrolled in a postsecondary training program.

What kind of services can beam participants receive?

Participants who are enrolled in BEAM will receive academic, training, and/or employment linkage services from one of two programs – Guided Career Pipeline or Career Center Services. The program that each individual receives is decided at random at the time of enrollment (like flipping a coin). After a community member enrolls in BEAM, the regional BEAM Outreach Coordinator will learn and alert the individual to which of the two programs he/she will be able to join; both programs are designed to link individuals to their desired academic or training programs and employment opportunities. The BEAM program is designed for individuals who want to return to postsecondary education, training programs, OR other employment readiness training options, such as on-the-job training or apprenticeships.

In one program, participants will work with their regional BEAM Outreach Coordinator, who will help direct the individual to outline career goals and work towards getting into a postsecondary training program or employment. In this program, Outreach Coordinators help direct the participant through a pathway towards reaching their goals. In the other program, participants will work with another staff member at the regional career center office to, similarly, outline career goals and work toward realizing training and employment opportunities. This program is slightly more self-directed in nature, however, staff at the American Job Centers are highly motivated and knowledgeable about how to connect individuals to career opportunities. The majority of individuals who enroll in the BEAM study will be working with the Outreach Coordinator in the Guided Career Pipeline program, while a smaller number of those enrolled will work with a career center staff member in the Career Center Services program. Regional Outreach Coordinators can provide more detailed information about what types of services are available in both of the programs being offered.

what will community members be asked to do to enroll in beam?

Participants will be asked to meet in-person with their regional BEAM Outreach Coordinator to complete a BEAM Enrollment Form and several other registration forms; this should only take about 25 minutes. Part of the enrollment process is providing written consent for PRG, the evaluation team, to request unemployment insurance and wage data from the New York State Department of Labor, and academic enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse. PRG will keep these data completely confidential and will only report academic and employment data in aggregate form. This means any data that PRG reports on will be de-identified (will not have your name or personal information attached) and at the group level; PRG will not report on any one individual’s wage or academic enrollment data. After the enrollment forms are completed, participants will then be assigned to a program and be able to work with a workforce employee to access services to help enroll in a postsecondary education or training program or find employment opportunities that fit their skill set and interests.

who can participate in beam?

Individuals must meet a certain set of conditions in order to be able to participate in BEAM. Individuals are eligible if they: 1) are 19 and up; 2) have previously attempted a postsecondary training program, such as college, community college, or technical school, but subsequently dropped-out before completing a degree or certificate; 3) reside in one of the following nine counties: Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Otsego, Tioga, or Tompkins; and 4) are not currently enrolled in a postsecondary training program. Spaces in the BEAM program are limited and will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. Regional BEAM Outreach Coordinators can answer specific questions about who may or may not be eligible to participate in BEAM.

why can’t PARTICIPANTS choose which program they want to receive?

The BEAM team understands that the concept of random assignment into one of two career programs may seem confusing or disconcerting. We also understand that it may be frustrating not to be able to choose which program you (or your clients) want to join. It’s important to understand that there are legitimate and very important reasons for designing the program in this way. The funding source that supports the BEAM program is tasked with figuring out if a new program that hasn’t previously been offered in New York works well at connecting individuals to desired academic, training, and employment opportunities. The most effective way of doing this is by doing what’s called an impact evaluation, or by randomly assigning individuals to one of two programs. This type of evaluation is widely used in other states and at local career centers to help agencies determine what works and what doesn’t work in helping individuals go back to school and find jobs they want.

We want the BEAM program to be as helpful to community members as possible – our goal is for individuals to be excited about exploring education and employment opportunities to meet their career goals. However, to understand how and whether these programs are benefiting community members, we need as many eligible individuals as possible to participate in the BEAM program, so that we know whether either of the programs that are being offered work. American Job Center staff and other community partners are an integral component to BEAM’s success. Their continued support in referring interested community members to the program is crucial to the study by both helping us meet our program enrollment goals and ensuring that BEAM Outreach Coordinators are working with individuals in the community who need career assistance.