U. S. Labor official impressed with job training at Queensborough

By Juan Soto

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu came to Bayside Friday evening to tour job training programs at Queensborough Community College.

He first watched closely how a 3-D printer replicated a hand at the Engineering Technology lab. Then he had a chance to explore the school’s third-floor Virtual Hospital.

After the visit, Lu summed up in one word what he just saw: “Impressive.”

The high-ranking official said immediately following the tour that these academic centers “prepare students for 21st century jobs.”

Lu pointed out that college students “can go from these training facilities straight to get a job” in the market.

He said the Bayside campus is part of the Obama’s administration “$2 billion federal investment effort to transform community colleges across the country.”

Lu added, “Queensborough Community College is a leading example of this effort and their advanced training facilities are helping to prepare the local workforce for high-demand jobs in the healthcare and advanced manufacturing industries.”

The Virtual Hospital and the Advanced Manufacturing for Economic Development, which focuses on 3-D printing, received a $11.5 million grant from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s CUNY 2020 Awards, a program that offers funding to CUNY schools to promote economic development and academic excellence.

Students learn to use 3-D printers and computer drafting software, which enable manufacturers to produce items and parts currently made in other countries.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) also toured the Bayside campus, with the college’s president, Diane Call.

“Our kids will probably laugh some day at these machines,” Meng told Lu while watching demonstrations at the 3-D lab.

Call was delighted about the visit.

“I am extremely proud that they [Lu and Chung] have chosen to recognize Queensborough for its innovative ideas and leadership, which provide current and prospective students the education to pursue promising careers in fields so important economically to New York City, and especially to the borough of Queens.”

During the visit, Stu Asser, professor and chairman of the Engineering Technologies program, showed Lu and Meng Iphone soft cases produced at the 3-D lab.

“What takes time is to design the things,” Asser said.

The deputy secretary of Labor said the Bayside campus has an advanced teaching center for the health-care industry. The school is one of the largest providers of nurses in Queens and Long Island.

At the 19,000-square-foot Virtual Hospital, students work in real-settings real-time scenarios to take care of patients. The simulations are closely monitored, and it includes a pediatric division in honor of Michael Dermott Mullon, a firefighter killed in the 9/11 terror attacks. He and his mother, Theresa Mullon, both got their associate degree in Nursing at the Bayside campus.

“Students applied what they learn and respond to different scenarios,” said Anne Marie Menéndez, chairwoman of the nursing program at the school. “All the students work at the hospital as computers reprogram patients to see how they respond.”

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto‌@cngl‌ocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.