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JCC Appoints Career Advantage Program Director

Beth Starks has been appointed director of Jamestown Community College’s Career Advantage program and North County Extension Center in Dunkirk.

Starks had served as an assistant professor and coordinator of early childhood education at JCC. Starks succeeds Elizabeth Booth, who retired as the center’s director in February.

In her new role, Starks will oversee the Career Advantage initiative, which meets the needs of adult learners by creating pathways and eliminating barriers for adults to complete a program of study. Her role also includes daily oversight of the North County Extension Center, which offers a full range of credit and non-credit courses as well as training services to area businesses and industries.

“With our renewed focus on the adult learner, Beth’s energy and passion for our students, JCC, and our region will allow us to make giant leaps forward with the Career Advantage initiative,” Holger Ekanger, vice president of Workforce Readiness, said.

“As JCC sharpens its focus on the needs in the region, adult learners are an increasingly important segment in addressing the needs of employers,” Daniel DeMarte, JCC president, said. “We will dedicate resources as we have for high school students in College Connections, to Career Advantage and, with Beth’s leadership, improve recruitment, retention and completion strategies for adults.”

Starks earned a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education with a concentration in Spanish and an early childhood annotation in 2002 and a master’s of science in curriculum and instruction in 2007 from the State University at Fredonia. Her education experience ranges from infant classrooms to higher education.

“I am honored, humbled, and excited to help lead this important initiative and critical location, which are both central to JCC’s mission and vision,” said Starks. “This new position will play an integral role in moving the college forward and I look forward to the opportunities ahead.”

At JCC, she helped develop the Single Parents Reaching Education to Employment (SPREE) program, which supports students by eliminating barriers that prevent single parents from attaining higher education. She also served on the college’s Hispanic Outreach Task Force and helped to form the college’s Leadership Academy. Presently, she leads within the college by serving as the co-chair of the college’s Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation steering committee.

An advocate for attainable child care, Starks founded the Chautauqua Lake Child Center in 2006. She serves as a consultant, keynote speaker, trainer, and professional development provider across the state of New York.

She also holds leadership positions within Chautauqua County and New York State, serving on the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, Chautauqua County Education Coalition, as well as the board of the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children. Starks is also a member of the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Board and Child Care Availability Task Force. In recognition of her advocacy, she received Child Care Exchange magazine’s Exceptional Emerging Leader award, as well as many local and state-wide accolades.

She lives in Mayville with her three children, Ethan, Aiden, and Ella.

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