Kingsborough Community College (KCC) today announced that it has been awarded a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide free training for more than 500 city residents for employment in the hospitality industry. The grant is part of the President’s Community–Based Job Training Grants Initiative designed to strengthen the capacity of community colleges to equip workers with the skills that local industries require for success.
"We are delighted that Kingsborough, the only grant recipient in the State of New York, is one of 72 community colleges in the country that competed successfully (out of a total of 429 competitors) for this grant which will enable our Tourism and Hospitality Department to provide training for more than 500 New York City residents in this booming industry," said Dr. Regina Peruggi, president of Kingsborough Community College.
The 72 grants awarded by the Labor Department will support projects in 34 states, joining the 45 states that were awarded $125 million in grants in October, 2005.
"This project pairs up the best that New York City has to offer -- an eager workforce and a thriving tourism industry," said Rep. Anthony Weiner, who represents KCC’s congressional district in Washington. "Brooklyn is proud to train the next generation of Big Apple ambassadors."
"Community colleges are vital partners in educating and preparing workers for good jobs in their local areas," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The $125 million these 72 community college partnerships will receive under the President’s Community-Based Job Training Initiative is going to help workers succeed in careers in health care, advanced manufacturing and other growing industries."
To identify the challenges that employers in the hospitality and tourism sectors face in meeting their employment needs, the New York City Department of Small Business Services convened an employer advisory group to aid in the development of the training program. The agency has allocated $70,000 per year for the three-year life of the training program, and will refer unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers to the program from its Workforce 1 Career Centers.
"By placing an increased emphasis on helping businesses grow through meeting their hiring and training needs, over the past year, the City has increased the number of New Yorkers placed in jobs by 80 percent," said Robert Walsh, commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. "The hospitality and tourism sector is a major economic engine in our City, and this partnership will help us continue to grow this industry and place New Yorkers in jobs by cultivating an even stronger and more qualified workforce."
The grants will be used to increase the capacity of community colleges to provide training in local high growth, high demand industries through activities such as the development of training curricula with local industry, hiring qualified faculty, arranging on-the-job experiences with industry, and using up-to-date equipment. Additionally, the grants will be used to train new and experienced workers in identified high growth, high demand industries with the aim of employing and/or increasing the retention and earnings of trained workers while meeting the skill needs of businesses within targeted industries.
"Community colleges are closely tied to the areas they serve, and they have proven themselves adept at responding to the regional workforce demands of numerous industries," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stove DeRocco.
KCC has the largest Tourism and Hospitality Department in the City University of New York (CUNY), serving more than 2,000 students each academic year. It prepares students for this multi-disciplined industry. Many graduates now hold professional positions with airlines, hotels, travel agencies, cruise lines, tour operator companies, restaurants, and airports.
KCC will serve 520 trainees through the grant-supported program in three years; 120 in the first year, 200 in the second year and 200 in the third year.
The Kingsborough Community College Center for Economic and Workforce Development (CEWD) is the lead organization for the training program and coordinates the partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services, which manages the City’s Workforce 1 Career Centers.
"The linkages established with our partners in the development of this project create collaborative and cooperative practices that are applicable to other industry sectors and will serve as an operational model for KCC’s Center for Economic and Workforce Development," said Dr. Stuart Schulman, executive director of KCC’s Center for Economic and Workforce Development.
About Kingsborough Community College:
Kingsborough Community College is located on a 70-acre campus in Manhattan Beach, on the southern tip of Brooklyn. It was founded in 1963 and serves approximately thirty thousand students per year, offering a wide range of credit and non-credit courses in the liberal arts and career education, as well as a number of specialized programs. The breathtaking Kingsborough Community College campus overlooks three bodies of water: Sheepshead Bay, Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Kingsborough serves a widely diverse student population and ranks among the top community colleges in the country in associate degrees awarded to minority students.