Tag Archives: Monroe College

Flushing Chamber of Commerce to launch English language classes for growing immigrant population

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com


The new Flushing Chamber of Commerce is launching a program to address the growing demand for English language classes to help waves of new immigrants in the area who need help learning the language of their adopted country.

“Language is one of the major challenges facing our business community,” said Simon Gerson, co-chair of the chamber, “and we are proud to take a leadership role in addressing this issue.”

The program “English Now!” will begin in April with a 12-week semester. The classes are meant to bridge the gap for immigrants seeking jobs in the American market. While Flushing continues to expand as an economic powerhouse, many of the new residents and businesses are forced into isolation triggered by language barriers, according to the chamber’s spokesman. By teaching the newcomers English, the chamber hopes to integrate Flushing’s residents and businesses into the larger economy of Queens and the city.

Participants must commit to two six-hour classes per week. The class will be held in Monroe College, which is a member of the chamber. The college-level class will be offered for $40.

The chamber created the program in response to a new wave of immigrants who don’t speak English very well. The trend is being seen all across the state, according to the Center for an Urban Future, but funding for English as a second language classes, known as ESL, has lagged behind the explosive demand.

The number of state-funded ESL seats has declined by 32 percent over the last nine years, from approximately 86,000 seats in 2005 to 59,000 in 2013, according to the center.

“We feel there is a need within the immigrant communities of Queens for a quality ESL program geared to professionals seeking to advance their careers,” said Evan Jerome, senior vice president at Monroe College. “This program will be geared to students with an intermediate level of ESL to advance both their written and oral communication skills.”

Class topics will be geared toward students who want to become better at speaking English for the purpose of getting jobs.

The deadline for registration is Friday, March 20. Registration forms are available by calling 914-740-6614 or emailing queens@monroecollege.edu.


Jamaica high school student vying for culinary arts scholarship

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Hipolito Torres

A love for cooking resonated with Hipolito Torres at a young age, he said. Now, at 18, he’s prepping to participate in a culinary arts competition to win a college scholarship.

Torres, a senior at August Martin High School in Jamaica, is heading to New Rochelle for the America’s Best High School Chef (ABHSC) competition, to vie for a full academic scholarship to Monroe College’s world-class culinary arts program.

“I feel very confident,” he said.

Torres, who has taken food preparation classes for about four years now, is one of 50 high school seniors from around the country chosen to show off their culinary skills Saturday at Monroe’s Culinary Arts Center.

Passion plays a key role in the teen’s cooking. Through time and firsthand kitchen experience, Torres said his love for food and its preparation continually grew. He said he likes “strong flavors” and has gravitated toward using earthy, rustic ingredients.

Monroe’s School of Hospitality and Management and the Culinary Arts, in its sixth year, will host the competition for students interested in pursuing a college degree in culinary arts.

“We are delighted to be hosting this competition,” said Frank Constantino, dean of the school of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts. “It provides many seniors interested in the culinary field the opportunity to showcase their skills and vie for a prestigious scholarship that will enable them to further cultivate their talent.”

At ABHSC, Torres will first be judged on his knife skills. He will be challenged with different cutting styles and will be judged on his precision. Next, the “salad basket challenge” will task Torres with making a high-end salad with select ingredients. Finally, the competition will be complete after a “mystery basket challenge,” which Torres said will require him to make a chicken dish.

“We have a lot of fun during the competition, and look forward to welcoming the new contestants,” Constantino said.

Torres’ plan of attack is slow and steady.

“I feel like I just need to pace myself and make sure I know what I’m doing and be confident in my food and skills,” he said.

The teen cook has bright hopes for the future. He aims to win the Monroe College scholarship, and then stay in New York and remain in the restaurant field. Ultimately, he plans to open his own city eatery.

“I want to try to gain as much experience as I can, both in skills and all around as a person in the industry,” said Torres.



Monroe College Delivers M.B.A. to Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Monroe College’s King Graduate School (www.monroecollege.edu/king) will begin offering a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree customized for Queens residents and professionals in September, 2012. Starting with the course “Managing in the Global Economy,” the class will be offered at the Sheraton LaGuardia-East Hotel, 135-20 39th Avenue, Flushing.

Monroe’s M.B.A. program offers concentrations in Business Management, Finance, Health Care, Information Technology Management, Marketing, Community Development and Entrepreneurship.

The King Graduate School also offers a separate Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

“Monroe is thrilled about running an M.B.A. course in one of the most culturally and economically vibrant neighborhoods in all of New York City,” said Evan Jerome, Vice President of Admissions for Monroe. With the formation of an advisory board, Jerome has built partnerships with area businesses and community leaders to advise the King Graduate School on developing a more comprehensive selection of graduate courses to eventually be offered in Queens. Matriculated M.B.A. candidates can complete additional courses totally online or at Monroe’s convenient Bronx or New Rochelle campuses in the evenings and on Saturday.

“Admission to Monroe’s M.B.A. program is selective in order to maintain the college’s reputation and culture of offering small classroom sizes and exceptional, personal one-on-one support,” explained Dr. Michael J. Marinaccio, Dean, M.B.A. program. “Another distinguishing feature of the M.B.A. program is its concentration on Urban Entrepreneurship. The cohort of students taking the course in Flushing will be engaged in real world business projects that support local businesses in the area. The economic development occurring in Flushing will be an incredible learning laboratory for the students.”

For more information about the information session and M.B.A. program, contact the office of Vice President Evan Jerome at 914-740-6765 or ejerome@monroecollege.edu

Turning the Economic Downturn Right-side up with an M.B.A.

For the unemployed or underemployed, from the recent college graduate to the mid-level manager, graduate school education is a career enhancing investment. According to Dean Ted Goldstein of Monroe’s bachelor’s degree program, “In today’s competitive market place, one needs to further develop their portfolio to maximize their chances of success in today’s rapidly expanding global business environment.”

“Getting an M.B.A. or other graduate-level degree is practically a prerequisite to career advancement in the 21st century,” said Karran Riley, a mutual funds trader for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. “No one is stopping at just their bachelor’s.” Even after 10 years on Wall Street, Riley recognized the need for more education in order to advance his career. Based on a recommendation from a family member, he applied to the M.B.A. program at the King Graduate School because, in part, its tri-semester calendar of classes appealed to his sense of urgency “to make me more competitive in the marketplace.”

Direct from College to Graduate School

After attending a community college where he earned an associate’s degree in international business, computer entrepreneur Yifei Wang transferred to Monroe College to complete his undergraduate studies in Business Administration.  “The New Rochelle campus was right across the street from where I was working at the time,” a practical and important consideration for Wang. A 2001 immigrant from China, getting his overseas academic credentials verified was made simpler at Monroe than with other institutions he encountered.

“Monroe has the best student customer service,” said Wang, who opened his first Neighbor Computer Center repair business in New Rochelle while still attending graduate school. He has since expanded his business to locations in Flushing and the Westchester County communities of Mamaroneck and Eastchester.

A Welcome Break from Wall Street

Allison Vasquez worked in the real estate division of Credit Suisse First Boston until the banking crisis of 2008. “There was never a dull moment,” she says. So to suddenly find herself unemployed she was motivated to apply to graduate school.  “Now I had the time and a good severance check to be able to afford it.”

Institutional reputation was also important to Vasquez.  Having friends who attributed their career success to their positive experience at Monroe College, Vasquez applied for admission. Shortly after graduating from Monroe, she made another investment in her career, buying Bailey Avenue Laundromat in the Bronx. From Vasquez’ new M.B.A. perspective, however, she did not just buy a laundromat. “I bought a customer-service business,” she said, a lesson she attributes to an M.B.A. marketing class. “By improving customer service and by listening to my customers, my business has exploded.”

“Main Street U.S.A.” is Laboratory for King Graduate School M.B.A. Program

Plenty of M.B.A. programs are characterized by a heavy emphasis on business theories. The King Graduate School strikes a balance between theory and practical, hands-on experience. To better communicate this, it recently added “Urban Studies and Applied Research” to its name.

“Giving our students ‘hands-on’ experience is not only the case with our approach to instruction but also in our selection of professors, the majority of which have combined academic and applied experience in their areas of expertise,” explained Dr. Roberta Harris, Dean. Dr. Harris herself began her career working in corporate America.

M.B.A. candidates at Monroe have helped launch, grow or reposition various businesses under the direction of their professors. They have developed business plans, websites, and marketing strategies. As the M.B.A. program expands its classroom-based studies, it is also looking to expand its “urban laboratory.”

“We’re eager to work with government officials, urban planners, and entrepreneurs from throughout metropolitan New York, sharing our expertise while enriching our students’ learning experience,” said Dr. Harris.

Rhonda Hamilton designs and sells jewelry from her New Rochelle-based atelier and retail shop, JustFunki. She mastered her design technique by training with artisans around the world.  Mastering the management of a cost-effective and profitable business has been more elusive. To help her get a better grip on managing her overhead and how to price her merchandise, a team of King M.B.A. candidates and their professor evaluated and tested software programs specifically designed to help a jeweler better manage her business.

Banker-turned-baker Tia Alleyne, the founder of Love Me Some Bakery, a home-based business, utilized the assistance of the King Graduate School. Alleyene’s “day job” keeps her hands in another type of dough, kneading the investments of her “one percent” clients in her capacity as a vice president at Bank of America. Eventually she hopes to open a storefront bakery but, for now, she says, “I know that I need some extra time and help in developing a plan for operations, marketing, and inventory management, as well as some additional financial guidance.  Monroe has been so gracious in lending me students to help me with this.”

Prospective students interested in learning more about Monroe College and its new M.B.A. in Queens should contact the office of Evan Jerome, Vice President of Admissions, at 914-740-6765 ejerome@monroecollege.edu. Students should also visit the King Graduate School website at http://www.monroecollege.edu/king to learn about admissions requirements.