Queensborough Community College is the recipient of a $1,332,500 America’s Promise U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) grant through the City University of New York (CUNY) TechWorks. Queensborough, recognized as one of the country’s foremost community colleges to participate in undergraduate research, is one of only three CUNY community colleges to receive the award, which will take place over a four-year period, that began on Jan. 1.
The grant will offer tuition-free training to help students obtain necessary skills, competencies and credentials including paid apprenticeship/internships, on-the-job training and job placement. The program will partner with several local and international employers, including software leader SAP.
The proposal, inspired by President Barack Obama’s America’s College Promise, is designed to accelerate the development and expansion of regional workforce partnerships. The partnerships include industry leaders and senior level leadership from workforce and economic development organizations, as well as secondary and post-secondary education institutions who are committed to preparing skilled workers for specific industry sectors.
Queensborough will focus on in-demand industries in information technology, developing courses in web technology, smart phone applications, C++ programming and web client programming, all of which will lead to the college’s new Associate in Science (A.S) degree in Information and Internet Technology.
The initiative’s priority will be to provide qualified students access to middle skill jobs in the tech sector that have a starting salary potential of $40,000 to $50,000 per year. These students will include students enrolled in the Business Technology Early College High School (BTECH), Queensborough’s early college initiative, as well as active or non-active Queensborough students who want to make a switch and take core courses toward the new degree. The program is also open to those with only a high school diploma.
This initiative is also open to students enrolled in Queensborough’s new dual/joint program in Engineering Technology and Computer Science with CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Queensborough is the only community college in CUNY to have more than one dual/joint program, with a total of 10.
“We assist community college-educated students to successfully contribute to the production of American workers going forward, as well as for society at large,” said Denise Ward, vice president, Pre-College, Continuing Education and Workforce Development. “I believe there is a great deal of potential to broaden our students’ view of the business world and provide them with the tools they need to align their skill sets with what the tech industry is looking for today.”
Vice President Ward added that faculty in the Engineering Technology department will play an especially important role in curricula development to create portfolio-ready projects instrumental for students’ introduction to the workforce.
“This initiative is emblematic of a larger platform required for students to be successful in the workforce,” said Jeff Chen, assistant dean, Workforce and Professional Development, Pre-College, Continuing Education and Workforce Development. “We are excited about this locally focused project built on regional partnerships in helping students prepare for the tech sector.” Jeff Chen is principal investigator for the proposal.