By Mark Hallum
Queensborough Community College received a $1.3 million America’s Promise grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through CUNY’s TechWorks to help students attain the portfolio items and credentials necessary to enter the workforce in the tech industry.
QCC was one of three City University of New York community colleges to receive the award over a four-year period starting Jan. 1.
The America’s Promise grant will partner with industry leaders, senior level leadership from workforce and economic development organizations as well as secondary and post-secondary education institutions to give students on-the-job experience through apprenticeships, internships and job placement.
One such partner is SAP Software Solutions, which forms alliances with universities worldwide to develop 21st century skills for tech students.
The Dept. of Labor grant was inspired by President Barack Obama’s America’s College Promise, a proposal to make two years of community college tuition-free to responsible students and designed to expand and develop regional workforce partnerships.
“We assist community college-educated students to successfully contribute to the production of American workers going forward as well as for society at large,” QCC Vice President Denise Ward said. “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.”
Faculty in the Engineering Technology department will develop curriculum to create student portfolios to successfully introduce students into the workforce.
QCC will focus on industries such as information technology, developing courses in web technology, smart phone applications, C++ programming and web client programming, all of which will lead to the Queensborough’s associate in science degree in information and internet technology.
“This initiative is emblematic of a larger platform required for students to be successful in the workforce,” Assistant Dean Jeff Chen. “We are excited about this locally focused project built on regional partnerships in helping students prepare for the tech sector.”
Students will who engage in the program will be expected to qualify for mid-level positions making $40,000 to $50,000 per year in the tech industry. The program is also open to students with only a high school diploma.
At the end of their education at QCC, students will be able to use their experience in a programming portfolio assembled during capstone courses to show potential employers they have more than just a degree.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall