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STATEMENT FROM HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRESIDENT FÉLIX MATOS RODRÍGUEZ ON PRESIDENT OBAMA'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

Thursday, January 26, 2012 (Bronx, NY) – As President of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York, I commend President Barack Obama for voicing his support for our nation’s community colleges and his commitment to workforce development programs.

In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Obama stated his desire to “train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job” and to see the creation of “community career centers – places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.” Hostos Community College is in the forefront of this movement. The College is committed to responding to President Obama’s call to provide educational opportunities that increase our workforce, as evidenced in our programs that equip students with 21st century skills and connect them with the business community.

While workforce development initiatives certainly play a vital role in ensuring the stability of our nation, they are particularly important for the constituents served by Hostos Community College in the South Bronx and neighboring communities. The Hostos Community College Workforce Development Program provides accessible, transformative opportunities and resources to people who are in need, enabling them to build better lives for themselves and for families. The Program has truly made a significant impact on the lives of thousands of people who have received its services the most.


Examples of Hostos Community College’s Workforce Development Programs:

  • Jefferson-Houses Jobs-Plus, a placed-based program located in a public housing facility in East Harlem, is the leading workforce initiative administered by the College. Jobs-Plus is a multi-component employment initiative pilot program launched three years ago by the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity out of the Mayor’s Office in partnership with the Human Resources Administration, the New York City Housing Authority, and CUNY Central. In 2010, Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented a Workforce Innovation Award to Hostos Community College at the NYC Neighborhood Achievement Awards ceremony. Conferred annually by the NYC Department of Small Business Services, this recognition is given to an organization or business that has enhanced its community through a creative and effective approach to workforce development and provided a model for others to emulate. Robert Steel, New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, and Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, toured the Hostos campus to learn more about the College’s offerings and strengths as a South Bronx educational institution and community resource.

    Jobs-Plus has welcomed a series of additional visitors who came to personally observe the program’s operations with an eye towards possibly replicating the model. Visitors have included the Minister for Economic Policy from France, personnel from various socio-economic programs in Texas, and two New York City deputy mayors, among others.

  • The Allied Health Career Pipeline Program provides specialized training in health care occupations to facilitate employment and advancement opportunities for public assistance recipients and low-income individuals. Participants are trained to become Community Health Workers, Patient Care Technicians, Pharmacy Technicians, and Certified Nurse Assistants. The Pipeline Program also offers health-career contextualized GED exam preparation for individuals who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Participants receive supportive services that include case management, childcare, transportation assistance, examination preparation courses, tutoring, enhanced career-focused internships, and job placement and retention assistance. Most of the funding for this grant comes from the US Department of Health and Human Services – a five-year grant – with additional support from New York Community Trust and JP Morgan Chase.

  • The Adult Learning Center (ALC) helps people who are 19 years of age and older to acquire basic proficiencies and build a strong educational foundation, enabling them to achieve academically and secure employment. ALC offers classes in reading, math, reading in Spanish, English as a Second Language, and pre-GED/GED. All classes offered by the ALC are free of charge.

  • The Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division offers non-credit courses and certificate programs for adults, children and teenagers that are conveniently held on weekday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays. Select programs are offered at no cost to participants. Certificate programs include: Basic Construction Project Management; Healthcare Interpreter; Electrocardiography Technician; Medical Billing and Coding; Starting Your Small Business; and Teacher Assistant, to name a few. Additionally, more than 25 business/professional development courses were offered in the fall 2011 semester, such as: Booking and Accounting; Electrical Residential Wiring; Plumbing and Electricity Basics for Green Jobs; Small Business Certificate Program; and Solar Energy Technology.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York system, was founded in 1968. Located in the South Bronx, the college currently serves more than 7,000 students. 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 Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to the fall 2011 enrollment of over 7,000 students. The college also serves an additional 12,000 students through its Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.

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