Six CUNY community colleges adopt short-term tech training with $5 million grant

Courses focus on training those with only a high school diploma for in-demand technology positions in cloud computing, cybersecurity, and web development.

About 1,100 students have registered so far, Hsu said.

The grant is part of a broader state and city effort to get more unlicensed New Yorkers — about 40% of the city’s working-age population — into better jobs. .

The new programs come at a time when public university enrollment has fallen during the Covid-19 pandemic, worrying businesses and policymakers that New York’s workforce will fall behind. The New York consortium is betting that short-term, low-cost training programs accessible online will be a game-changer.

The schools have partnered with 11 employers, including Amazon, Google and NYC Health + Hospitals, to hire students upon completion of the program. Recent graduates now hold positions at CitiBank and Sanofi.

Students can work toward in-demand industry certificates for roles like Amazon Web Services Cloud Practitioner and Google IT Support Professional. But in response to feedback from employers, Hsu said, the program also trains people in less technical skills.

“21st century skills are also taught,” she said. “Communication, leadership and especially self-management after the pandemic are all in high demand.”

Interest in the five-week software engineering program has seen particular demand. Other programs take longer, such as the four-month study program to prepare students to work at Google IT.

A number of courses will be offered over the summer and fall, Hsu said, including 5G mobile technician training, CompTIA Network+ and courses for Amazon Web Services such as machine learning, big data. data and solution architecture.

It remains to be seen whether such programs can bring back the number of students that the city’s public universities have lost in recent years. Enrollment at community colleges nationwide is down 19% since the end of 2019, and enrollment at CUNY’s seven community colleges is down 22% during that time.

Education officials have noticed. New York State has expanded its tuition assistance program, and now more money can be used by students entering non-degree programs. Prior to the change, financial aid was only eligible for degree programs, excluding students in workforce training programs.

Most of the new scholarship programs are completely free for students with a high school diploma. Others offer financial aid and scholarships.

As CUNY leaders grapple with the role community colleges should play in the modern workforce, Hsu said she sees the new programs as an offer to students not yet interested in a degree. complete.

“Some students don’t need degrees right away, but eventually they will as they progress,” she said. “It’s all part of a new higher education paradigm that we’re all still trying to figure out.”

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