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LaGuardia Community College creates film, TV production workforce development program

Empire State Development awards a grant to LaGuardia Community College to create a film and television workforce development program to take advantage of its proximity to several studios in western Queens. (Courtesy of LGACC)

March 22, 2023 By Bill Parry

Through the New York Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program, LaGuardia Community College is receiving a $205,000 grant to recruit, hire, promote, develop, and train a diverse and inclusive workforce for New York’s motion picture and television industry.

With its campus in Long Island City, LaGuardia Community College is just a stone’s throw away from several major film and television production studios, like Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silvercup Studios and Robert DeNiro’s Wildflower Studios rising in Astoria.

“LaGuardia Community College is located in Western Queens, a hub for film and entertainment production since the silent film era,” said LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams. “Our new relationship with Empire State Development will enable us to create workforce development opportunities for students who are interested in the film and television industry and allow us to build a strong partnership with IATSE Local 52.”

The LaGuardia Community College Film Training Program will serve 40 unemployed and underemployed individuals, offering a three-pronged training program that will match participants’ skill sets to existing job opportunities, align training to the needs of local employers, and embed counseling and advice throughout the program.

The program will run two cohorts of 20 students, each focusing on training for entry-level employment film production assistance in electrical, grip, or prop design. The training will take approximately 112 hours per cohort and will partner with IATSE Local 52.

“Local 52 looks forward to assisting BCC and LaGuardia in providing quality candidates to the New York production crew database,” IATSE Local 52 President and Business Manager John Ford said. “Special thanks to the Governor and Legislature in addressing these important programs.”

The LaGuardia Community College Film Training program is based on the successful Bronx Community College (BCC) Film Production Training Program and inspired the New York Entertainment Diversity Grant program.

The BCC program demonstrated that universities, unions, and studios could successfully partner to increase the diversity of the entertainment workforce. The BCC program focused on training students from under-represented backgrounds in the film and television industry in IATSE Local 52 trade crafts and providing a path to employment in the industry.

The funding for the program at LaGuardia Community College comes from a 0.5% portion of the Film and Television tax credit.

“The film and television industry is an important sector of New York’s economy that provides good jobs to tens of thousands of residents throughout the state,” Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner Hope Knight said. “We are committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers, especially those who traditionally have been left behind, are able to get sought-after skills and training and excel in New York.”

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