SUNY University Center for Academic and Workforce Development


To elevate the potential of New York’s underserved by providing a statewide system of quality, tuition-free academic and workforce development programs that impart skills, enhance college and job prospects, and improve lives and communities.

Quality education has the power to change lives. But for many, choices and circumstances put the education and training they need beyond reach.

At SUNY UCAWD, we create access to opportunity by giving New York State the programs that help eliminate barriers to education. In communities, we are a source of skills, a gateway to better jobs, and a positive influence on people’s lives. Behind the scenes, we champion issues and channel resources to the centers and staff who empower students. Across the state, we are an economic engine, making a lasting difference through the many lives we touch.

We stand behind the potential of all New Yorkers to pursue their dreams. And we’re committed to making opportunity a reality and putting more people on their path to upward mobility.

We proudly serve asylum seekers, refugees and others recently arriving in the United States, the justice-involved, and members of all communities facing socioeconomic challenges!

EOC barber exhibit

Our institutions are built on partnerships. On the statewide and local levels, we are proud to deliver tuition-free programs and services with many agencies and organizations, including:

  • NYS Department of Labor;
  • Cannabis Workforce Initiative;
  • The Urban League;
  • Summer Youth Employment Program;
  • Labor unions;
  • Healthcare systems; and
  • Library systems across the state.

If our missions align and you are interested in partnering, please contact: centraloffice@ucawd.suny.edu 

SUNY UCAWD Leadership

Associate Provost and Director – Lisa Jackson, MS

Lisa L. Jackson serves as the Associate Provost and Director of the State University of New York (SUNY) University Center for Academic and Workforce Development (UCAWD).  As Associate Provost, Ms. Jackson oversees a $72M statewide system of Educational Opportunity Centers and the Advanced Technology Training and Information Networking (ATTAIN Project). Over the past 21 years at SUNY UCAWD, Ms. Jackson has worked to bring opportunity and access to New York State residents who find themselves outside the traditional education and training pipeline.  

LIsa Jackson speaking

Ms. Jackson holds a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University at Albany and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Bowie State University. She began her career working with adults and children affected by substance abuse at the Whitney M. Young Health Center in Albany. She subsequently worked as Program Director at the Homer Perkins Center, and further supported disadvantaged and marginalized communities through roles with the Women and Violence Coordinating Center at Policy Research Associates, as well as the Arbor Hill Community Center, Inc.  

A well-traveled “Air Force brat,” Lisa currently resides in Albany, New York. She is a 37-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and enjoys spending time traveling and visiting with her daughter (Amber) and “grand-cat” (Blanche) in Washington D.C.


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SUNY UCAWD Central Office
353 Broadway
Albany, NY 12246

Within SUNY System Administration, UCAWD’s Central Office provides fiscal oversight, programmatic guidance, operational leadership and statewide advocacy for EOCs, OCs and ATTAIN labs. By developing partnerships and creating sustainable systems for growth, UCAWD is committed to furthering our programs’ six-decade legacy of success.

Contact our team:

Lisa Jackson
Associate Provost and Director

Karen Russo
Director of Finance and Administration

Dr. Carol Meyer
Director of Academic Affairs

Dr. Sidney McPhee
Director of Student Services

Dennis Michaels
Chief Information Officer

Beth Osborne
Administrative Assistant

David Hruby
Associate Director of Finance

Julio Olaizola
ATTAIN Project Manager

Michael Pratt
ATTAIN Statewide Coordinator

Matthew Weinell
ATTAIN Statewide Coordinator

Carlee Lobdell
ATTAIN Program Manager

Dominique Wheeler
Senior Staff Associate for EOC Operations

Dan Murphy
Senior Staff Associate for EOC Operations