New York’s LaGuardia lands $116M gift for workforce training center

A $116 million grant from a foundation led by New York Mets owners Steven and Alexandra Cohen will go towards a new workforce development center at LaGuardia Community College. Pictured is LaGuardia's C Building. (Photo: LaGuardia)

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, led by philanthropist and New York Mets owner Alexandra Cohen, is awarding a $116.2 million grant to New York’s LaGuardia Community College to create a new massive workforce training center. It is the largest gift ever to a community college.

The 160,000-square-foot “Cohen Career Collective,” which is expected to be completed by January 2029, will have education and training programs that lead to associate degrees, industry certifications and other credentials for jobs in high-demand sectors such as healthcare, construction, technology, culinary and hospitality, green jobs, and film and television, according to a release. There will also be comprehensive student support services, like career advising, preparation for job interviews, job placement, childcare and financial literacy training.

“The Cohen Career Collective will be the largest career and technical training facility of its kind in the region, offering programs to prepare New Yorkers of all ages, backgrounds and educational levels for good jobs in high-growth sectors of our local economy,” LaGuardia President Kenneth Adams said of the gift.

Alexandra and Steven Cohen

Alexandra Cohen, who is president of the foundation, said she wanted to create a place where students have access to high-quality programs and facilities and can learn the skills needed for quality local jobs.

“Our goal is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. We are proud to create the Cohen Career Collective and are committed to our neighbors here in Queens,” she said in a release.

The facility will include specialized shops, labs and classrooms for hands-on instruction and training, in addition to student meeting rooms, a career services center, computer labs, a lecture hall, locker rooms, mechanical rooms and more, according to the college.

City University of New York (CUNY) officials called the gift and the ensuing education, training and services “transformational.”

“This historic $116.2 million investment multiplies CUNY’s role as an engine of upward mobility and doubles down on our commitment to helping our students not only get a degree but a well-paying job after graduation,” said Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, chancellor of CUNY, which comprises 25 campuses across the city’s five boroughs, including seven community colleges.

LaGuardia, which is a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution, said the center also will provide English as a second language classes to help foreign-born students who need to improve their English before taking vocational programs. In addition, it will provide high-school equivalency classes so participants can earn GEDs and it will serve as the college’s summer youth employment program.

About the Author

Daily Staff
CCDaily is published by the American Association of Community Colleges.
The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.