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LaGuardia Community College launches a new job-training program for NYCHA residents as the city begins to restart the economy that was decimated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City is launching a career readiness program for NYCHA residents in partnership with state Senator Michael Gianaris and Urban Upbound.

The Linking Interests to Careers Program will enable NYCHA residents to match their individual interests to education and career training programs that will pair those individuals with future job opportunities.

Gianaris secured funding for this program in the state budget and the rollout comes as the city begins to rebuild its economy that has been crushed during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The long road to economic recovery should leave no one behind,” Gianaris said. “This new initiative will connect those in need of employment with the skills required to succeed in the new economy that emerges after the pandemic. I am committed to ensuring the recovery does not only serve the wealthy and privileged but carves out space for those who need these opportunities most.”

LaGuardia Community College career counselors with the assistance of Urban Upbound will proactively reach out to residents of the Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Astoria Houses to find people whose employment prospects will be enhanced by enrolling in workforce training, pre-academic programs like English language classes and high school equivalency, or an associates degree program.

“Urban Upbound is excited to partner with LaGuardia Community College to launch this new workforce initiative,” Urban Upbound Co-Founder and CEO Bishop Mitchell Taylor said. “During a time when relief and recovery is paramount, we thank Senator Gianaris for having the foresight to identify groups like ours, and provide the funding to continue to fuel the recovery in our community.”

With the funding secured by Gianaris, partial or full scholarships will be provided to participants along with tools such as free MetroCards. Participants will also receive guidance in building their résumé and job interview preparation.

“NYCHA houses are a vital part of the western Queens community, and we’re grateful to state Senator Michael Ginaris, for his support that’s making this new program, known as Linking Interests to Career Programs, possible,” LaGuardia Community College Interim President Paul Arcario said. “Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, our Career Assessment Tool will match each participant to an education or training path that positions them for a job. The tool aligns an individual’s personal interests to possible career choices. Students who like gaming, for instance, can be shown a path to earning a tech certificate or associate degree that offers real job opportunities.”

Emily Bonilla, 27, a Ravenswood resident with a 4-year-old daughter, Allyson, is thankful for the new program and the guidance it provides.

“I’ve been wanting to make a better life for me and my daughter,” Bonilla said. “I’ve always wanted to work in the medical field, but didn’t know what area to pursue. The career assessment confirmed that healthcare is the right field for me. With my adviser’s help, I’ve decided to major in radiology technology. I can’t wait to start in September. I’m so grateful for this program, which will allow me to earn my degree in a field I’m very interested in, without accruing debt. The fact that it’ll help pay for my tuition, textbooks and MetroCard mean everything.”

LaGuardia Community College educates more than 50,000 New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate and continuing education programs.

To learn more visit the school’s website here.

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