Tag Archives: CUNY

Queensborough Community College receives grant money for new health center


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File photo

Queensborough Community College received $11.5 million from a state grant that aims to provide seed money to CUNY schools pursuing educational projects, according to CUNY.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the winner of the CUNY 2020 grant last week as part of a larger 2013-14 executive budget of $110 million to fund tech and health projects in state and city schools. Queensborough has two such projects that received money from the grant. $10 million will go to building a 19,000-square-foot healthcare center in northern Queens, according to the school, where students will work with patients in the community with health problems.

The remaining $1.5 million will go to renovating and equipping a 3-D printing site in the school. The college computer science department plans on creating new courses that will help students, including those from some local high schools, learn to use the printers.

“The $11.5 million dollar award places us as a vanguard to serve two vital industry sectors: technology and healthcare,” Queensborough President Diane B. Call said. “I am extremely proud that Queensborough Community College has been selected for our innovative ideas and leadership to provide current and prospective students the education to pursue promising careers.”

Cuomo appropriated $55 million as part of the 2013-14 State Budget for NY CUNY 2020. The program offers grants for two- and four-year colleges within the CUNY system.

 

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CUNY appoints new Queens College president


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CUNY

PAULINA TAM

Dr. Felix V. Matos Rodriguez, a former cabinet secretary of the Department of Family Services for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, was appointed as the president of Queens College by The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York (CUNY), the school announced Monday.

“He brings to Queens College an impressive blend of scholarly accomplishment, public service, a strong commitment to student success and a deep belief in the University’s educational mission,” Chancellor James B. Milliken of CUNY said.

Rodriguez graduated from Yale University with a degree on Latin American Studies and later received his Ph.D in history from Columbia University. He is an academic in the status of women in Puerto Rico and he has written and co-written many scholarly works on the topic.

Prior to his recent appointment, Rodriguez served as president of Hostos Community College, another CUNY affiliate, since 2009.

“I look forward to joining the vibrant community of students, faculty, staff and alumni that have made Queens College a beacon of excellence, opportunity and innovation through the years,” Rodriguez said. “In the spirit of Queens College’s motto — ‘We learn so that we may serve’ — I pledge to put all the experience and learning of my scholarly, administrative and public service career at the service of an institution that has, and will continue to serve, Queens, New York City, and the nation with the highest standards of excellence and dedication. Thank you for the opportunity to serve, and I look forward to becoming a member of the Queens campus community for many years.”

 

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Students to analyze Queens waters in summer CUNY program


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

More than 30 high school students will test the waters of Queens as part of a special City University of New York (CUNY) summer program.

Macaulay Honors College of CUNY is hosting the course to sample and analyze water at the Queens base of the Throgs Neck Bridge, Flushing Bay and Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, so students can learn about threats to the ecosystem.

Led by Queens College professor and oceanographer Gillian Stewart, students from Brooklyn Tech H.S. will identify issues facing each body of water and think of possible solutions.

The site sampling is intended to foster students’ interest in science and the environment and the program will begin on June 30. On July 3 students will take a full-day field trip to the sites to sample the bodies of water.

“We really just want to take the students out there to show them New York is surrounded by water,” Stewart said. “But New York has one of the most contaminated waterways in the country.”

Students will analyze water samples from the three sites and use tools to identify the pH and oxygen levels, the amount of metal in the water, plankton and the diversity of sea life. They will also identify threats such as the raw sewage that leaks into Flushing Bay and the pollution from car traffic into Meadow Lake, Stewart said.

Although the program will show students issues facing the waterways, Stewart hopes the students stay positive.

“Most New Yorkers don’t realize how threatened those waters are,” Stewart said. “I hope these students walk away with an interest in science and environment…but also the optimism that they could make a difference.”

 

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Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Ambulance Corp slaps neighbor with $13M lawsuit


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter / @FDNY

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building next door’s owners to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent.

Owned by 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC, the deteriorating building, which was an abandoned furniture store, crumbled on April 12 last year, leaving a hole in the roof and damaging the adjoining ambulance corp structure.

“That building next door, because of the negligence of that corporation and others, is a danger to society,” said Angelo A. DiGiangi, general counsel of Community Advocacy Center, which is representing the volunteer ambulance organization pro bono in collaboration with CUNY Law School. “The building looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If this building continues the way that it is, my client will lose its building.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department.

Nearly a year later, the collapsed building still has a gaping hole and mold, elected officials said.

After much pushing by local politicians, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC recently paid off $3,200 in fines it owed to the Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has eight open ECB violations and a total of $33,000 in fines, $20,000 due in Department of Buildings civil penalties for work without a permit and $7,500 due in  civil penalties for failure to correct hazardous violations, according to the Buildings Department.

“It’s disgusting that it took so long to get to this point,” Assemblymember Mike Miller said. “Seniors have been suffering and they want to be back in the ambulance corp. This is their home.”

The owner of the property could not be reached for comment.

Despite the recent positive movement, elected officials are still unsure of when the owner will actually repair the building.

“I need for work to be done on the building. That would be positive. Paying the fines does nothing for seniors or the Woodhaven – Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp,” State Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “With that gaping hole in the roof, with the snow and ice, that building is only going to get worse.”

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CUNY selects new chancellor


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CUNY

In an unanimous decision, the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York (CUNY) appointed James B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska system since 2004, as its new chancellor.

“President Milliken is a highly regarded national leader in higher education. He brings to CUNY an impressive record of extensive academic and administrative experience and a demonstrated record of success in working with students, faculty, alumni and community leaders to offer quality, affordable higher education,” Board Chairperson Benno Schmidt said in a statement Wednesday.

CUNY touted several achievements under Milliken’s tenure at the University of Nebraska as examples of his record.

During his tenure, according to CUNY, enrollment at the University of Nebraska in 2013 reached a 20-year high, there have been record investments in financial aid, Milliken has helped lead initiatives to develop new public/private campuses, and he has been a strong advocate of distance education through innovative online courses and programs to connect faculty and students across the state and around the world.

Milliken replaces Matthew Goldstein, who retired this summer, and had held the chancellor position for 14 years.

“I am honored and excited by this appointment to lead America’s premier urban public university,” Milliken said.

“CUNY today has a world class faculty, talented students, an outstanding reputation, rising enrollments, increased academic standards and the most diverse student body in the nation. It enjoys significant momentum and unlimited potential,” he added.

In addition to heading up the University of Nebraska, Milliken also graduated from the school. But he also has a strong connection to New York City.

Milliken earned his law degree in 1983 from New York University, according to CUNY. He also served with the Legal Aid Society’s Civil Division, Chelsea Neighborhood Branch and was an attorney with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft from 1983 – 1988.

 

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Hercules: Aftermath of the storm


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated at 12:59 p.m.

Queens residents woke up to more than half a foot of snow Friday morning as they prepared to deal with the aftermath of the winter storm.

Snowfall in parts of the borough was reportedly as high as 11.5 inches.

Mayor Bill de Blasio updated the city at about 10:30 a.m. and urged residents to stay off the roadways and be aware of how “deceptively cold” the weather remains. Although the “snow has tapered,” wind conditions have stayed substantial.

There will be a high of 18 degrees on Friday, and a low of zero coming into Friday night, he said.

“This has been and remains a dangerous storm. It is going to be bitter cold today, and New Yorkers need to be extremely careful going outdoors,” de Blasio said. “The best things people can do are to stay off the roads so we can clear them as fast as possible, and to check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbors who might need help this morning.”

Nearly 2,500 plows are working through the 6,200 miles of roadways as of “early this morning,” de Blasio said. PlowNYC is activated for borough residents to track real-time progress of snow clearance. Residents are additionally asked not to shovel snow into the street, which could delay snow clearance.

Despite multiple accounts of drivers’ vehicles getting stuck in the snow, NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner John Doherty said the agency was “able to keep the city moving no matter the situation.”

As the snow fell throughout Thursday night and early Friday morning, sanitation department members plowed “primary streets,” highways, multiple times to continue to remove snow brought back onto the roads by wind, Doherty said. They then addressed local roads and side streets.

Garbage and recycling pick-up has been suspended until snow removal is complete. All city hospitals and emergency rooms remain open, and additional ambulances have been added.

Alternate side parking regulations are suspended through Saturday and MTA subways are running with service changes. The LIRR is operating on its weekend schedule. Buses are “delayed but still moving,” and the Rockaway Ferry is not running.

John F. Kennedy International Airport closed Thursday night but Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) officials are aiming to reopen at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, although the FAA ultimately makes that decision, according to a Port Authority spokesperson.

Runways are continually being cleared of snow but the wind is working against them, pushing the wintery mix back to where it started.

At LaGuardia Airport, travelers formed long lines waiting to hear about their outgoing flights.

“This is just crazy. The only good thing is I rather be in here than out there in the cold,” said Jeff P., from Woodside who was traveling to Portland,Ore. for work. “I just hope I make my flight. I got here with four hours in advance.”

Catherine Hidalgo, 27, also made sure to leave her hotel a few hours in advance to make it back home to California.

“I just want to make it to my family safe,” said Hidalgo. “It is crazy waiting but I rather be safe than sorry.”

City schools are closed after newly-appointed Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the call Friday morning at about 4 a.m. After-school programs and PSAL are suspended and CUNY classes are canceled as well.

Major highways including the Long Island Expressway reopened at 8 a.m. but city officials continue to urge New Yorkers to stay out of the driver’s seat and off the roads.

 

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Holocaust survivor shares experiences through art


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

As visitors walk through the Queensborough Community College (QCC) Art Gallery, they are taken through the experiences of Rosemarie Koczÿ, who at three years old had her life turned upside down.

Koczÿ was born in 1939 in Recklinghausen, Germany and three years later was taken to a concentration camp together with her family. At a young age, Koczÿ witnessed death, loss and the struggle to survive.

Years later, still having the hardships she shared with many others strong in her mind and making it as a survivor of the Holocaust, Koczÿ began keeping records of the memories through different methods of artwork. The artist began with creating tapestries then moved to drawings, paintings and sculptures. Koczÿ died in 2007. Since September, QCC has had close to 140 pieces of Koczÿ’s art, created over nearly 30 years, on display in an exhibit titled “Art As A Witness” at the campus’ historic Oakland Building.

The series of close to 100 drawings, done with ink on paper, involved in the exhibit are called “I Weave You A Shroud.” Koczÿ used each of the drawings to remember those she saw suffer and die while in the concentration camps.

“They are burials I offer to those I saw die in the camps where I was deported…” Koczÿ wrote in an initial description of her series. “In the Jewish burials the dead are washed; a woman washes the body of a dead woman, a man washes the body of a dead man. The body is then wrapped in a shroud. Sewing a shroud is an act of respect and a rite.”

The exhibit also features wood sculptures and paintings titled “Standing Man,” where Koczÿ honors an unknown prisoner who ultimately gave his life to help and protect her in the camp.

Some of the pieces are owned by the QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York, other paintings are loaned by the Stichting Collectie de Stadshof in The Netherlands, drawings from the Musée Création Franche in France and sculptures are from private collectors.

One of Koczÿ’s sculptures is permanently on display at QCC’s Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives, while another piece, a tapestry made in 1975, is hung above the main desk in the admissions office.

QCC is located at 222-05 56th Avenue in Bayside and “Art As A Witness” is free to the public and will be up until Sunday, January 5.

The QCC Art Gallery is closed Monday and opened Tuesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and weekends noon to 5 p.m.

 

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Queens College hosts first-ever Homecoming Tailgate party


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The City University of New York’s Queens College has taken another step in honoring its past athletic achievers and bolstering its athletic department.

The school hosted the first-ever Homecoming Tailgate party on Sunday to pay tribute to past athletes and allow them to connect with current players.

Dozens of fans and student athletes past and present representing the men’s and women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse, women’s fencing, softball, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams attended the event, which featured food, music and games. There was also a scrimmage soccer match with past and current female soccer players.

“It’s just a celebration of us,” said China Jude, athletic director of Queens College. “It’s just a way to hang out. There is no agenda. Just eat, enjoy fellowship and have fun.”

The event was the culmination of homecoming weekend, which included the annual men’s and women’s basketball season kick-off event, MidKnight Madness, on October 18, and the second-annual Hall of Fame Induction dinner on October 19.

MidKight Madness attracted nearly 1,000 fans for a night of food, music, events and free giveaways. And some past athletes that attended the Hall of Fame dinner also stopped by the tailgate party the next day to connect with current players.

“It’s lovely to see the growth of Queens College,” said Gail Marquis, a Queens College alum who played on the first United States basketball women’s Olympic team in 1976. “We never had a tailgate party before.”

Following years of just the MidKnight Madness celebration, school officials said the Hall of Fame Induction dinner and now the Homecoming Tailgate party makes a full weekend of activities to promote and further appreciate the Queens College athletic department.

“It’s definitely a positive step,” said Carl Christian, a Queens College alum and the current head coach of the men’s soccer team. “It’s vital in terms of development and building a strong foundation not only in terms of competitive teams, but in terms of having tradition and history and respect for what’s come before.”

 

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York men’s soccer dominates in season opener


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Verity Rollins

Junior Rachidi Amadou led York College with two goals as the Cardinals shutout Sarah Lawrence College to win their season opener, 4-0, on Thursday.

York (1-0) completely dominated possession and out shot Sarah Lawrence, 41-1.  As the final score reflected, the Cardinals scored early and often, ending with Brandon Yotagri’s unassisted goal in the final minute of play.

Amadou started the blazing offense when he scored in the 15th minute and just over a minute later Rohan Burrell added another goal for the Cardinals. In the second half York picked up where they left off when Amadou notched his second goal in the 67th minute.

With a positive start to the season the Cardinals are looking forward to their next match against United States Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday.

 

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New research center to study Jamaica Bay ecosystem


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

NYC Mayor's Office's Flickr/Photo by Edward Reed

A top-tier research center promoting resilience in urban ecosystems is coming to Jamaica Bay.

On Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced CUNY will house the new Science and Resilience Institute. The leaders also laid out progress on the cooperative management of Jamaica Bay parkland and waters.

“The new consortium is an all-star team of research institution and nonprofits who will do important work to protect and preserve urban ecosystems from development and from the effects of climate change,” Bloomberg said. “Jamaica Bay is one of the greatest natural treasures any city has within its borders.”

The Science and Resilience Institute will integrate research efforts from across the natural and social sciences, host visiting scientists and provide lab facilities for students and researchers.

The site will be formally established by fall of this year, with a temporary space on Brooklyn College’s campus.

“Working together, we will develop and coordinate approaches to coastal resiliency for Jamaica Bay that can serve as a model for communities around the world,” Jewell said. “In CUNY and their academic partners, we have a consortium of world-class institutions to advance our understanding of climate change and its impact on our natural systems.”

Bloomberg and Jewell also announced progress on several other park initiatives. Those include the formation of a Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, chaired by longtime National Park Service philanthropist Tom Secunda.

 

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First city ROTC program in decades comes to York College


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jerry Speier

New cadets are being trained for a future serving the country right at York College, in the first city ROTC program in decades.

Last September, the CUNY school took on an ROTC program for young, hopeful cadets.

“I’ve wanted to be an officer all my life,” said junior Jerome Tabaosares. “I wanted to go to school close to home, and as soon as I found out [York] offered ROTC, I jumped right in.”

York’s ROTC program is the first offered at any CUNY college since 1960, and includes a three-credit course comprised of Military Science 101, 102 and 202, as well as Military Custom and Courtesies, Army Ethos and more. An appreciation breakfast was held on Wednesday, January 17 in honor of the growing program; the

York cadets, faculty and also Army members were in attendance.

Tabaosares, a first generation New York native, comes from a long line of Filipino marines and knew that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of those before him. A nursing major, he intends on taking his ROTC experience and continuing on to the Nursing Corp of the Army, hopefully as a Nursing General.

“I’d like to add [something] new to our family,” he said. “If my relatives can do it, so can I.”

Colonel Twala Mathis, U.S. Army Cadet Commander and Second Brigade Commander, addressed the young cadets, commending them for their participation in ROTC.

“This is the absolute best leadership training in the nation,” she said. “Today’s service members are part of a unique team, working together for a single purpose.”

During what Mathis called “one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history,” she said it was young cadets like those at York that will continue to ensure the safety of our country.

“ROTC is about developing strong leadership skills for life,” said Marcia Keizs, president of York College. “With this preparation, our participating students are enhancing their abilities as leaders.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 72. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then mostly cloudy. Low of 59. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: CPR for Everyone

Learn how to recognize the signs of a cardiac emergency and get a hands-on demonstration of basic resuscitation techniques from registered EMTs with years of experience with the New York City Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services. This program is presented in partnership with the FDNY. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Stray bullet fired wildly by singing thug hits teen doing homework in apartment

A Queens teenager who got up before dawn Sunday to do her homework was injured by a stray bullet fired by a singing thug, police and witnesses said. Read more: New York Daily News

Pedestrian killed in Queens

The NYPD says a pedestrian was struck and killed by a BMW at an intersection in Queens. Police say the operator of the car was traveling southbound on Cross Bay Boulevard when he struck the male pedestrian crossing from the west side of the street. Read more: Fox New York/AP

Two Queens community colleges fight CUNY changes

The English departments at two Queens community colleges are fighting CUNY’s efforts to reduce their four-hour introductory writing classes to three hours. Read more: New York Daily News

Cops winning underground war

An NYPD anti-crime initiative on trouble-prone Bronx and Queens subway lines resulted in a 20 percent reduction in major felonies — and now it will be expanded citywide. Read more: New York Post

Occupy Wall Street protestor suing NYPD over alleged pepper spray incident

A woman who was pepper sprayed during an Occupy Wall Street protest last year has filed a civil suit against the New York Police Department and the officer involved. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Obama set to address UN General Assembly

Campaign politics shadowing every word, President Barack Obama on Tuesday will challenge the world to confront the root causes of rage exploding across the Muslim world, calling it a defining choice “between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes we hold in common.” Read more: ABC New York/AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Clear. High of 82. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon.Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 64. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph

EVENT of the DAY: Michael Jackson Birthday Bash 

“Do you Remember the Time” when you first saw the King of Pop’s slick moves literally glide across the dance floor? Do you remember singing the lyrics to “Billie Jean” at the top of your lungs? Or maybe, you laid in bed at night visualizing all the moves in the “Thriller” video. Either way, the music lives. On August 29, it is officially Michael Jackson Day at Resorts World Casino New York City. With MJX, the premier MJ Impersonator, and DJ Spinna on the ones and twos, it will be a night to remember.Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Dumping stops in Queens neighborhood

The work to restore this stretch of land along the Van Wyck Expressway is finally underway. It’s a welcoming sight for residents near 116th Avenue who remember what the area used to look like. Read more: NY1

Chain ladder breaks as kin flee fire

A Queens family desperately trying to escape a raging fire tearing through their home tried to use a chain-link ladder to escape — but it suddenly broke, forcing the five people to jump two stories Read more: New York Post 

Suspect charged with killing homeless man in Woodside

Police have arrested and charged Ramiro Martinez with the stabbing death of Enrique Morales Martinez on a street corner in Woodside, Queens on Sunday afternoon. Read more: NY1

CUNY considers constructing a Queens hotel

The City University of New York has retained Cushman & Wakefield Inc. to help the school determine if it should proceed with a plan to build a hotel in Long Island City, Queens, in order to expand its hospitality program. Read more: Crain’s New York

Isaac makes second landfall, levee overtopped in Plaquemines Parish

The center of Hurricane Isaac made a second landfall over Port Fourchon, La., early Wednesday, overtopping a levee southeast of New Orleans, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than 400,000 homes. Read more: ABC News

Republican convention is in full-throated roar

The Republican National Convention is finally in full-throated roar, cheering presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s name at every turn in a long-sought show of unity and mocking the man he is out to defeat in November. Read more: AP

Venus Williams an easy winner in return to the U.S. Open, beats fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-3, 6-1

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the American wearing a black cap over blue hair, blitzed compatriot Venus Williams early in their first-round match Tuesday, taking the first two games of the opening set. Read more: New York Daily News

 

New programs to provide more job training for growing tech industry


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy William Alatriste

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, together with the City University of New York (CUNY), the Coalition for Queens and tech industry leaders announced two initiatives to help train more New Yorkers for jobs in the city’s growing technology sector.

One of these initiatives will provide for more tech educational opportunities in Queens. Coalition for Queens, a non-profit that focuses on fostering the technical system in the borough, CUNY, Skillshare, and other leaders in the tech field will provide classes in areas such as computer programming, digital marketing and entrepreneurship at CUNY campuses in the boroughs.

The other initiative, open to current computer science and engineering students at CUNY, is an Advanced Software Development program. It will launch this fall, with 20 students. Every student who completes the program will receive a paid apprenticeship with a New York City tech firm. The Queens classes will also launch in the fall, and the Coalition for Queens will have a full list of classes on its site soon.

The City Council has allocated approximately $101,000 for the CUNY Advanced Software Development Program and $65,000 for Coalition for Queens.

“[These programs] bring employers and academia together to ensure that our schools are preparing students for employment in the tech sector upon graduation,” said Quinn

Currently there are 1,700 digital firms in the city, 932 of which are hiring. Unemployment in the city is 9.6 percent, and there are few other industries where half of the companies are still hiring.

But these jobs require specific training and skills. The two programs will not only help close that skills gap and improve unemployment numbers, but will also help ensure continued growth of the tech sector in New York City, she said. In the last four years, more than 500 tech firms have opened in the city.

One applied science campus, Technion-Cornell, should open by 2017 on Roosevelt Island, and will start offering off-campus classes this fall. It’s estimated that 30,000 to 120,000 tech jobs will grow out of the Cornell campus in the future and much of this will be in Queens, said Coalition for Queens founder, Jukay Hsu.

One of his non-profit’s partners in the initiative is Queens College, which educates more computer scientists than any other school in the metropolitan area. The initiative will provide even more opportunities for high-quality tech education in the borough. “We believe that anyone can gain the skills required to work in the new tech community,” he said.

By offering tech classes through CUNY, more New Yorkers will be able to work in the sector, especially those who can’t afford Cornell, said Quinn.

“We want to make sure those folks have exactly, even if not a better chance, of being leaders in the tech field as anybody else. What’s the answer to that — CUNY,” she said.

Hotel to rise on Skillman Ave in Long Island City


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Courier/Photos

The City University of New York (CUNY) is aiming to check in to the borough’s new hotel hotspot.

CUNY recently sent out a request for proposal (RFP) to hospitality industry consultants, seeking ideas on how to develop its lot on Skillman Avenue in Long Island City nearLaGuardia Community College — with the goal of building a teaching hotel, as well as other academic facilities, for its students.

According to CUNY spokesperson Michael Arena, the facility would be both commercial and educational, with students comprising the staff of a fully-functional hotel.
“The hotel and tourism sector is rapidly growing in New York City. There are many jobs connected to it, and there is a strong need for it,” Arena said. “The idea of students being able to take skills they are learning in the classroom and use them in a professional environment is tremendous. That’s what internships are, but in this case we will have the facility connected to the academic program.”

Arena referenced the positive impact of similar facilities at both Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania as motivation to develop the lot.
Dr. Gail O. Mellow, LaGuardia’s president, also believes the educational opportunities would be vast and highly positive.
“The hotel’s location near LaGuardia would give our students hands-on experience in seeing and helping run a major hotel,” she said. “Students studying accounting, tourism, food and nutrition, marketing and more would have the ability to apply the skills they learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. The educational benefits would be outstanding.”

Zoning permits CUNY to use up to 600,000-square-feet of the lot — part of which is currently used for parking – without the trouble of variances.
Thus far, the response from the private sector has been strong.

“There has been a lot of interest in the site,” said Arena. “The response has been very positive. The RFP went out identifying companies that have expertise in the area, and those companies are responding very strongly.”

Rob MacKay, the director of tourism for the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), called the project “fantastic news.”

“The hospitality field is very stable in Queens right now, and residents should be able to have solid, long-lasting careers in the industry,” MacKay said. “Furthermore, with the Resorts World Racino, plans for two convention centers, new media interest and TV shows based in borough, I predict that the field will grow exponentially in the near future.”

According to MacKay, city records show more than 7 million visitors spent over $3 billion in Queens in 2010, and the travel sector currently supports roughly 16 percent of the jobs in the borough.

Arena says the decision to develop the plot was based on the premier real estate factor – location.

“It is in a vibrant community close to Manhattan – only a five minute train ride to Times Square,” he said.