Center for Public Service connects experts to state services

TROY's Center for Public Service is located at the Montgomery Campus in downtown Montgomery, Alabama.

TROY's Center for Public Service is located at the Montgomery Campus in downtown Montgomery, Alabama.

Troy University is helping agencies throughout its home state thanks to the University’s Center for Public Service.

Established in 2016, the center operates as a hub connecting government agencies and nonprofits throughout Alabama to TROY experts who can help them in areas of need.

“Our mission is to provide expert assistance to state and local governmental agencies and nonprofits in a variety of ways,” said Thomas Vocino, executive director of the Center for Public Service, which is located at the University’s Montgomery Campus.

To date, the center has worked with the Alabama Department of Corrections, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the River Region United Way on projects ranging from training conferences to in-depth research.

“These agencies have a need, and they outsource that responsibility to us,” Vocino said. “About 60 percent of our projects have been managing training conferences for state agencies.”

The rest of the projects represent a variety of projects involving different departments throughout the University.

“We’ve done program evaluations, wage and benefit studies, and Dr. Xutong Niu is doing a computer resource mapping project for the Department of Human Resources,” Vocino said. “We’ve also done a sexual and physical violence study at Alabama prisons for the Department of Corrections.”

While the center serves the public, it also helps TROY in a variety of ways beyond the contracts that are signed.

“I think the center allows TROY faculty and staff opportunities to build their expertise and also, in a number of cases, has provided students an opportunity to work on a project that is a very good resume item,” Vocino said.

Vocino plans to do more work with nonprofits in the near future, and he also wants to work with local governments throughout Alabama.

“A university is a repository for a variety of special skills and knowledge that, certainly, we use for teaching and research, but can also have practical benefits,” said Dr. Steven Taylor, chair of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Troy University is dedicated to using the knowledge that the University has to serve the interests of the state of Alabama and its citizens.”

Any governmental agencies or nonprofits who would like to find out more information about the Center for Public Service can contact Vocino through email or at 334-241-8716.