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LaGuardia Community College hosting forum to help Queens residents access tech sector careers

LaGuardia Community College will host a forum on Dec. 11 to highlight opportunities for careers in the fast-growing tech sector. (Courtesy of LaGuardia Community College)

Dec. 8, 2023 By Bill Parry

New York’s fast-growing tech sector has become the city’s most consistent source of new middle- and high-wage jobs, but much work remains to be done — both citywide and in communities across the five boroughs — to ensure that far more New Yorkers of color are able to access these well-paying careers.

On Dec. 11, the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) is hosting a policy forum at LaGuardia Community College featuring speakers from the tech community, business leaders and elected officials to shine a light on the opportunities that are currently available. The forum will address what actions are still needed to close the opportunity gap for tech careers in New York and bolster tech education and training infrastructure in communities across the city.

“The tech sector has become New York City’s most reliable source of new middle- and high-wage jobs, but too many Queens residents are still struggling to break into tech careers,” CUF Editorial and Policy Director Eli Dvorkin sayd. “The city has added more than 119,000 tech jobs over the past decade — a 146% increase — and our tech workforce is more diverse than that of most other major U.S. tech hubs. However, Black and Hispanic New Yorkers hold just one-in-five tech sector jobs, despite making up 43% of the city’s workforce.”

This is the first in five-borough forum series and it will focus focus on the opportunity to expand access to tech careers in Queens. It will feature Queens-based leaders discussing the borough’s tech education and training ecosystem, and examine what more policymakers, employers, educators and workforce practitioners should do to help more Queens residents get on the path to technology-powered careers.

“This forum will gather some of the top leaders in government, education and the private sector to discuss what New York City should be doing to close this opportunity gap in tech careers and expand access to many more Queens residents,” Dvorkin said, adding that the forum is made possible with generous support from Amazon.

The forum will be held in person at the Little Theater at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at 31-10 Thomson Ave. from 8 to 10:45 a.m. on Monday. To RSVP to attend in person, click here. Those who cannot attend in person, can RSVP to tune in virtually here.

“The CUF Forum will provide a much-needed dialogue to help strengthen the connections between economic development initiatives and job training programs in our city,” said Kenneth Adams, president of LaGuardia Community College. “I am looking forward to participating in this discussion with community leaders and elected officials who share the same concerns about enhancing economic growth and job opportunities across technology industries in order to keep Queens and New York City moving forward.”

Speakers will include Pursuit founder & CEO Jukay Hsu; Anthony Negron, director of Digital Programming at the New York Hall of Science; and Clarisa James, co-founder and executive director of DIVAS (Digital Interactive Visual Arts Sciences) for Social Justice. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Council Members Julie Won and Nantasha Williams and Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech will be among the speakers.

“The Queens Chamber has had a strong focus on tech, with the launch of the Queens Tech Council and our Queens Tech Incubators program — which includes an incubator right here at LaGuardia Community College,” Grech said. “Queens has everything tech companies need to grow and thrive, including a talented, diverse workforce and world class educational institutions. We look forward to convening with stakeholders to discuss how we can better connect Queens residents to tech careers and foster a stronger tech industry in our borough.”

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