Monday, October 15, 2012 (Bronx, NY) – Eugenio María de Hostos Community College knows how important it is for individuals to have the skills to do the job. A skilled and educated community is a successful community, one that generates a positive chain reaction economically and socially from generation to generation.
With this in mind, Hostos will open the new Center for Workforce Development & Continuing Education in the former Bronx Terminal Market Building, located at 560 Exterior Street—where East 149th intersects with River Avenue—to join forces with community leaders and employers throughout New York City.
The college is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony AT 9:00 a.m. on October 17, and Hostos President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez is confident that the new facility will provide more essential programs to help individuals improve their quality of life. “We are proud and excited that this facility will serve as a resource for education and training for the entire community. It expands Hostos’ capacity to meet the needs of the South Bronx by providing more classes, training, and certificate programs that lead to employment and professional and personal growth.”
The new home of the Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development is a total $1.4 million investment that will expand the division’s popular programs, including General Educational Development (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL), job training in the fields of health and technology, adult literacy, College for Kids, and more. Hostos believes these programs – particularly GED and ESL classes — are pipelines to higher education, and the expansion of the division is a key aspect of the college’s long-term strategic plan. The new building includes 8,300 square feet of space.
This facility will also include new programs such as the Center for Bronx Non-Profits (CBNP), which was funded by JPMorgan Chase and The New York Community Trust. Carlos Molina, Vice President for the Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development, said that the CBNP will support non-profit organizations in their efforts to seek funding, apply for grants, and manage their organizations more efficiently, thereby increasing their capacity and resources.
Another new program will be the Bronx Workforce1 Career Extension Center, a joint venture with FEGS and SBS. “We are incredibly excited about housing the Bronx Workforce1 Career Extension Center on our campus,” said President Matos Rodríguez. “This is a partnership that connects several institutions with expertise in getting New Yorkers employed by educating, training, and coaching them to be highly competitive in today’s job market. The synergy from this joint venture will result in far greater success in improving the quality of life for Bronx residents than we could accomplish individually. “
In addition to the funds provided by Hostos and CUNY, local elected officials helped to make the new center a reality, as $400,000 in funding for furniture, equipment and technology were made available by Bronx Councilwoman María del Carmen Arroyo. Not only does Councilwoman Arroyo represent the college in her district, she is also an Hostos graduate.
The new building will also help to meet the needs of community members who have been seeking continuing education and workforce training in record numbers — individuals that local businesses and elected officials are depending upon to be the engines that drive the local economy.
Under the leadership of Assistant Dean Lorraine Altman and Executive Director Peter Mertens, the division’s enrollment increased by 23 percent in the past year and by almost 500 percent over the past decade. In the 2011-12 academic year, the division’s enrollment reached 12,000. The new building will help to accommodate this growth, as well as provide a state-of-the-art environment for both staff and students.
In 2010, the Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development received a $7.4 million federal grant for the Hostos Allied Health Career Pipeline Program. The program provides specialized training in healthcare occupations to public assistance recipients and low-income individuals. This is the largest grant that Hostos was ever awarded, and it has helped to pave the way for the division’s expansion.
Moreover, the building is impossible to overlook. With “Bronx Terminal Market 1935 City of New York” etched in large letters on its façade and a bright Hostos sign proclaiming its identity as the “Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education,” it stands as a testament to the college’s commitment to preparing people for employment in this fast moving and changing job market.
Steven Delgado, longtime Dean of Facilities Management at Hostos, said the project has been in the works for about three years and the vacant building—part of the Terminal Market just south of Yankee Stadium—was identified by the administration about 15 months ago. Beginning with the design phase, Delgado said the interior and exterior work took approximately eight months.
At Hostos for over 40 years, Delgado has been involved with many construction and renovation projects. He considers this to have been “an exciting challenge,” in part because of the unusual features of the building. Windows were kept along the front to capture natural light, and parts of the building were left somewhat “unfinished” to achieve a modern, high-tech look. For example, some duct work was left exposed. The back of the building features a suspended ceiling, and acoustic panels were installed to eliminate noise.
“We had a very large, open space to work with, so it was a challenge for architects and the furniture people. For me, it was an exciting challenge,” Delgado said.
With an estimated 750,000 commuters passing through the area daily, the new center is sure to attract considerable attention, and the services it provides will have a positive impact on the South Bronx and surrounding communities for years.
The Continuing Education & Workforce Development Division already comprises CUNY in the Heights, the Allied Health Career Pipeline Program, Adult Learning Center, CUNY Language Immersion Program, CUNY Start, the Liberty Partnership, Proyecto Access, Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), Work Incentive Planning & Assistance Program (WIPA), Jobs-Plus, Center for Bronx Non-Profits @ Hostos, Study Abroad, and Advanced Technology Training & Information Networking (ATTAIN) Lab.
For more information about the Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development, go to http://www.hostos.cuny.edu/contedu/.
About Hostos Community College:
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968. In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in 1970 to over 7,000 students in 2012. The Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development serves an additional 12,000 students. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.