March 14, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The leaders of four City University of New York (CUNY) colleges in Queens were presented with a $5.5 million check for funding on Tuesday, March 14.
The presentation was made by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, whose office allocated the funds to LaGuardia Community College, Queens College, Queensborough Community College and York College. The funds will go toward financing various projects at the institutions including building renovations, training facility upgrades, and security purposes.
The event took place inside a medical training room at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, located at 31-10 Thomson Ave.
Kenneth Adams, the president of LaGuardia Community College, and Frank Wu, the president of Queens College were among those in attendance, as was Christine Mangino, the president of Queensborough Community College, and Earl Simons, the executive director of government relations and strategic initiatives at York College. They were joined by a number of students from LaGuardia Community College.
Richards said that the funding allocated to the institutions will ensure that the borough remains a hub of higher education, while it will also help to build a stronger and fairer future for Queens.
“Investing in our colleges is a direct investment in not only the leaders of tomorrow, but the well-being of their families, our economy and our communities,” Richards said. “We’re talking about real, tangible investments in our communities.”
LaGuardia Community College was apportioned $2 million from Richards’ office to support the modernization and expansion of frontline healthcare training facilities. The facilities are used to provide practical education and skills building for nurses, licensed practical nursing (LPN), paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who require specialized equipment.
York College in Jamaica, located at 94-20 Guy R Brewer Blvd., was allocated $1.5 million to fund its new keyless card entry system to improve safety, while Queens College in Flushing, located at 65-30 Kissena Blvd., was given $1 million to help renovate teaching spaces for its theater and dance programs.
Meanwhile, Queensborough Community College in Bayside, located at 222-05 56th Ave., was allocated $1 million for locker room upgrades.
“This is what providing a well-rounded education for our young folks looks like,” Richards said. “If we can’t offer our young people an unrivaled education right here in Queens, then we cannot continue to succeed as a borough.
The funds are in addition to $5 million Richards’ office previously allocated to CUNY schools since taking office in December 2021.
Adams said that the funding to LaGuardia Community College was very important and will strengthen its campaign to train and graduate 3,000 frontline healthcare workers by 2027. The initiative, called “3,000 Heroes,” was launched last year in response to a shortage of frontline healthcare workers across the city, Adams said.
“This funding will go towards upgrading our campus facilities where healthcare students hone their clinical skills in simulated settings, preparing them to care for New Yorkers facing acute illness or injuries that require urgent medical attention.”
“Through 3,000 Heroes, more New Yorkers will have access to job training for dynamic healthcare fields with family-sustaining salaries and growth potential.”
Wu echoed Adams words and said that the funding for Queens College will help renovate Rathaus Hall, where his institution’s drama, theater and dance departments are located. The facility was named after Karol Rathaus, a composer who fled the Nazis and helped build some of the college’s programs, Wu said.
“These investments are investments in so much more than in an institution or its buildings, they are investments in people and the future,” Wu said.
Simons meanwhile praised Richards for his commitment to CUNY colleges in Queens and said that the new keyless card entry system at York College would improve safety and allow swifter entry to its buildings for students and staff.
“[It] will also allow us to track, and know who’s coming in and out in a positive way,” Simons said. “It will help us with regards to ensuring security for our students, faculty and staff. It will be a tremendous asset to York College.”
Furthermore, Mangino said that some of the buildings and facilities at Queensborough Community College are outdated and in need of upgrades. She said the $1 million apportioned to upgrade its locker rooms will go a long way to supporting sport at the college, noting that basketball and athletics are particularly strong there.
“We really do want to have the ability to give our athletes a quality locker room and facilities,” Mangino said.