Eldredge Blalock knows firsthand the power that education has to change one’s life. In 2022, he completed the Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice at St. Thomas Aquinas College through the school’s partnership with Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison. The organization coordinates college programs at six New York State correctional facilities, offering college education, life skills, and reentry support to current and formerly incarcerated people.
“It was during my academic journey while incarcerated that I understood the power that education can have even in the darkest of places,” he says. “I knew that I had to work with this organization to give everyone a chance to accomplish something remarkable.”
Today, Eldredge is doing exactly that. As Hudson Link’s Development Manager, he oversees the program’s budget and donations, as well as outreach, grant writing, and events, such as an annual spring benefit dinner. Eldredge’s work involves many duties, and he knows that each day he is not only helping the organization, but the people whose lives it works to change.
“With every keystroke, every mouse click, and every time I submit a proposal, I am impacting someone’s life,” he says.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and leadership from Nyack College, Eldredge was attracted to STAC’s criminal justice program and the college’s overall dedication to social justice and equity. He says the support he received inside and outside of the classroom kept him determined to finish his degree, even though raising his two children, one of whom is now in her freshman year at STAC.
Eldredge says the MPA program gave him knowledge and skills he brings to his job every day. “The thought-provoking, intriguing, and challenging courses have equipped me with business and financial know-how as well as a deeper understanding of policy and power dynamics,” he says. “With my career being taken to the next level through the MPA, the future is a lot brighter.”
For more than a decade, Eldredge has made it his mission to help make education possible for others and empower them to make decisions that will lead to a secure future.
In late 2019, he became a member and reentry facilitator for the New York Consortium for Higher Education in Prison, where he collaborated with colleagues on ways to expand the network and opportunities for reentry. Through his work, he had the opportunity to serve as a New York State representative at the National Conference for Higher Education in Prison in St. Louis, Missouri.
Eldredge was also involved in the youth assistance program at the Shawangunk and Fishkill Correctional Facilities and was a motivational speaker for the Voices of Transformation and the Credible Messenger Reentry Initiative. He shared his own life story with high school students and led presentations on topics that impact youth, emphasizing the consequences of negative decisions.
Though Eldredge is working full-time and keeps busy with his family, he still occasionally speaks at STAC and on various criminal justice panels. In his free time, he enjoys playing chess—he is a grandmaster chess player—and taking in “a good horror movie.” In the future, he aspires to lead his own organization that helps others by empowering them through education.