Maybe You Can Help Expand the Workforce

This month we are in midst of Queens Days — through the Queens Chamber of Commerce, many groups have highlighted the activities and programs that will attract residents and visitors to the borough. Whether it is a show at York College or Queens Theatre, a special event at one of the branches of the Queens Library or even a bike ride on the boardwalk in Rockaway, there is something for everyone in the most diverse county in the world.

Taking advantage of what the borough has to offer is good thing. Not only can you stay close to home and save some money because Queens is cheaper than Manhattan and the Hamptons, but you can support the local economy. The largest employment sector in Queens is transportation. Aviation businesses, on and off JFK and LaGuardia airports, employ nearly100,000 people. But smaller service businesses, such as restaurants, retail shops, recreational venues and sports attractions, account for a growing workforce.

This was brought home to me recently when I had the opportunity to visit Resorts World Casino New York City in South Jamaica. A young man from the Customer Relations Department was assigned to give me tour of the facility. As I am inquisitive by nature, I learned as much about him as he told me about the new casino. The child of immigrants, he grew up in Southeastern Queens. His parents valued education, and he recently graduated from a state university with a B.A. in English. His first job was in sales, which he was less than enthusiastic about. But he did enjoy interacting with the public. He went to an open interview at Resorts World and clearly impressed them with his excellent people skills, energy and integrity. He was hired and placed in the training program. Though he has only been employed a few months, he clearly enjoys his job. He likes meeting new people, he’s developing confidence, and he’s honing new skills — and he works less than a mile from home. I wouldn’t be surprised if he moves up to management in a short time.

We need businesses, large and small, that hire young people. In addition to Queens Days, the month of May has many graduations. Thousands of young people will be entering the workforce. As business people and entrepreneurs, we need to think of ways to make room for them and give them a chance.

This spring at QEDC we are giving a chance to new entrepreneurs. Our Entrepreneur Assistance Program kicks off at the end of the month. “New Ideas, New Ventures” seminars are given monthly and with the Queens Chamber, we offer M/WBE training that can lead to special state certification and job opportunities.


May Business Events

Entrepreneur Assistance Program (EAP)

This 10-week program consists of classes two times a week during which instructors and guest lecturers take you step-by-step in the preparation of business plan. Former EAP students have gone on to win the StartUP! Business Plan Competition and its $10,000 prize.

When: May 24 to August 2 (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
Where: Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Kew Gardens, NY 11424
Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: $350, but $50 is refunded to those who complete their business plans


Minority/Women Business Owned Enterprise Program (M/WBE) Orientation

When: May 31
Where: Queens Chamber of Commerce: 75-20 Astoria Blvd., St. 140, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Time: 10 to noon
Cost: Free
In partnership with the Queens Chamber of Commerce
To register, log onto www.queensny.org or call 718.263.0546

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