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Verizon’s Next Step Program at Hudson Valley Community College wins American Business Award as Best Human Resource Team
Hudson Valley Community College is program’s lead college in New York State

CONTACT: Eric Bryant (518) 629-8072,
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, June 13, 2007

The Verizon Next Step Program, an innovative business, labor and education partnership, coordinated in New York State by Hudson Valley Community College, won the “Stevie” Award for Best Human Resource Team in the 2007 American Business Awards Monday night.

The Next Step Program is a coalition of 25 colleges in New York state and New England that deliver a common Telecommunications AAS degree program for Verizon employees. Hudson Valley serves as the lead college in New York and Springfield Technical Community College is the lead college for New England. The program, which began in 1995, is funded by Verizon and managed by the company, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Hailed as “the business world’s own Oscars” (New York Post, April 27, 2005), The American Business Awards are the only national, all-encompassing awards program honoring great performances in business. The awards are nicknamed The “Stevie,” which is derived from the Greek for "crowned."

“This national honor confirms the success of business, labor and education partnerships like Next Step,” said Hudson Valley President Andrew J. Matonak. “The Verizon Next Step program is an ideal model for keeping the workforce adaptable and ready for new technological advances. My thanks go to the great people who run the program here at Hudson Valley and across the Northeast.”

“We are thrilled to win this prestigious award. To receive affirmation from distinguished members of the business community that this program is special is something for which Hudson Valley, Springfield Tech, Verizon, the CWA, the IBEW, all of the partner colleges, and the program students should be exceedingly proud,” said Nancy Duchessi, director of the New York Next Step Program at Hudson Valley Community College.

The awards were presented during ceremonies hosted by Larry Wilmore of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan. Stevie Awards were presented in more than 40 categories including Best Overall Company, Best Executive, and Best Corporate Social Responsibility Program. More than 2,000 entries from companies of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted for consideration.

In winning the Stevie, the Verizon/CWA/IBEW Next Step Program beat out other finalists including DHL Express and Marriott.

The Next Step Program was developed to maintain a highly trained workforce in the rapidly evolving telecommunications workplace. The program provides qualified Verizon associates the opportunity to obtain an associate’s degree in telecommunications technology by attending classes one day a week for eight semesters. Program participants are given a laptop computer, and attendance at the college is considered a Verizon workday. Verizon pays for tuition, college fees and class materials. Verizon technicians must employ their knowledge and skills to solve complex installation issues involving customer computers and networks in addition to mastering the Verizon infrastructure.

In accepting the Stevie, Verizon Next Step Program Co-Director Dan Crocitto said, “It is truly a privilege to accept the American Business – Best Human Resource Team Stevie Award on behalf of the Verizon Next Step Program. The award acknowledges the successes of our educational partnership and the quality of work and creative talent of every individual on our team – a team that has maintained a clear focus on the value of an education and the significant impact it has on the individual students, as well as the Program’s partners.”

Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 associate’s degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.

Next Step Program Facts

  • More than 3,200 graduates
  • 21,152 applicants since its inception in 1995
  • On average, seven employees apply for each available seat
  • Participants surpass their national counterparts with higher grade point average ranges
  • A participant retention rate of 75 percent, versus a 48 percent national rate
  • 30 percent of graduates who continue their formal education