Mayor Bloomberg Addresses First Graduating Class of LaGuardia Community College’s CUNY Fatherhood Academy

Long Island City, NY–Mayor Michael Bloomberg on September 12 attended the first graduation for the CUNY Fatherhood Academy at LaGuardia Community College, a program that assists young fathers who are unemployed or underemployed in learning parenting skills, prepares them to obtain employment, earn their GED where necessary and enroll in, and graduate from college.

Mayor Bloomberg addressed the program’s graduates, as well as the incoming students in the next class at the ceremony. Of the 22 graduates, six have enrolled at LaGuardia as incoming freshmen and four have taken and passed the G.E.D. exam. Twelve participants have also obtained permanent employment.

”We cannot overestimate the importance that fathers play in their children’s lives,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “The CUNY Fatherhood Academy is promoting the goals of the Young Men’s Initiative to strengthen family connections and educational and employment opportunities by teaching young fathers to become responsible caregivers, while helping them learn skills that will increase their employment options.”

During the ceremony, Mayor Bloomberg was presented with an award from the National Fatherhood Initiative for his support of the program.

 “LaGuardia Community College creates opportunities for New Yorkers and helps individuals and families enter the middle class,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College.  “We are thrilled to join Mayor Bloomberg and CUNY in pioneering new ideas and in partnering with us to make the CUNY Fatherhood Academy at LaGuardia a success. Through this program, young fathers will gain skills, become better parents and have new doors open for them.”

The CUNY Fatherhood Academy is part of New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative, a comprehensive effort to help young black and Latino men achieve their professional, educational, parental personal goals through an array of programs and services designed to increase access to mentoring, education, employment, and various opportunities for civic and community engagement.  The free 16-week program offers classes in GED and college preparation; work experience through a part-time job or internship; and opportunities to learn about careers and other topics, such as a father’s rights and responsibilities, health and nutrition, and financial literacy. 

In collaboration with the Young Men’s Initiative, LaGuardia’s Division of Adult and Continuing Education and the City University of New York CUNY collaborated with NYC Dads – The Mayor’s Fatherhood Initiative to launch the the CUNY Fatherhood Academy. The effort is funded by the Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

“We are pleased to partner with the NYC Young Men’s Initiative and LaGuardia Community College to offer this unique program that is designed to help young fathers reclaim the future for themselves and their children by pursuing higher education,” said Deborah Douglass, Executive Director of Education and Training Opportunity Programs at CUNY. “We congratulate these young men on successfully completing this first step and will continue to support them in achieving their academic and career goals.”

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 LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.