Sunnyside Community Services opens new training facility on Long Island City waterfront

ESD Commissioner Hope Knight & Queens BP Richards & home aide cohort & Judy Zangwill
Sunnyside Community Services’ new $4.3 million facility in TF Cornerstone’s new highrise on the LIC waterfront. (Courtesy of ESD)

Sunnyside Community Services opened its new $4.3 million state-of-the-art facility on the Long Island City waterfront with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 17. The 7,713-square-foot space on the second floor of TF Cornerstone’s latest high-rise at 52-41 Center Blvd. across from Hunter Point South Park will be the new home of the community-based nonprofit’s Home Health Aide Training Program that will employ 577 healthcare professionals within five years.

“As the city’s population of older adults continues to grow, it is imperative that our communities prepare by increasing the number of people entering the healthcare field,” Sunnyside Community Services Executive Director Judy Zangwill said. “Our new space in Long Island City will allow us to train more people to carry out the vital work performed by healthcare aides.”

(Courtesy of TF Cornerstone)

The facility includes three classrooms, a group meeting room, private counseling spaces, a lab practicum and equipment room, a pantry for kitchen training activities, offices and a dedicated reception area. New equipment — including smart boards, laptops, TV monitors, beds, lifts and mannequins — will ensure that home healthcare aides and trainees receive technology-enhanced training and education experiences.

“With this new location, Sunnyside Community Services will allow us to train more people to carry out the vital work performed by home health aides,” Zangwill said. “Homebound New Yorkers depend on home health aides for assistance with daily activities like preparing meals and getting dressed. With this new location, Sunnyside Community Services will not only be helping some of our city’s most vulnerable residents, but we will also be providing jobs and an entryway into the healthcare field for underemployed and unemployed residents.”

Empire State Development supported the new facility through a $750,000 capital grant, recommended by the NYC Regional Economic Development Council. The project aligns with and reflects the state’s efforts to close the skills gap by preparing individuals to enter career paths in the growing healthcare industry while expanding the workforce pipeline in a critical field.

“The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted a growing, ongoing need for trained and qualified home health aides, who are essential to the health and well-being of countless New Yorkers,” Empire State Development President and CEO Hope Knight said. “Sunnyside Community Services’ new state-of-the-art training facility addresses that need, through a workforce development program that will lead to jobs and opportunity for those aiming to learn vital new healthcare skills.”

Empire State Development president and CEO Hope Knight delivers remarks at Sunnyside Community Services’ new $4.3 million facility in TF Cornerstone’s new high-rise on the LIC waterfront. (Courtesy of ESD)

The training program helps unemployed and underemployed individuals, primarily immigrant women, enter a career in the growing healthcare field. The four-week free training is offered in both Spanish and English and is open to those without a high school diploma or who have limited work experience.

“With the need for home health care aides on the rise as our population ages, it is important we have enough trained people ready to work in this area,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “The opening of this training facility is a major step forward in ensuring Queens residents can take advantage of the opportunities available in this fast-growing field. I congratulate Governor Hochul, Empire State Development and Sunnyside Community Services on the successful completion of this facility, and commend our state government on all of its efforts to promote economic growth through workforce development.”

SCS serves a diverse community of over 16,000 people of all ethnicities and income levels throughout Queens with programs that range from pre-K to college and career readiness, home care and home health aide training, Beacon and Cornerstone community centers for children and families, a vibrant senior center and a full range of services for at-risk older adults including social adult day care for individuals with Alzheimer’s, and a citywide program of supportive services for those who care for them.

“It is so exciting to see Sunnyside Community Services’ expansion into Long Island City. This welcome expansion will provide adult educational opportunities, while also supporting our senior citizen population,” Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan said. “Professional home health aides play a vital role in our healthcare system, and the advancement of this sector requires and deserves our attention and investment. I am proud to have long supported this project. Congratulations to Sunnyside Community Services, executive director Judy Zangwill, TF Cornerstone, community leaders and all who have worked to make this project a reality.”

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