Queens College joins CUNY 2020 program’s investment plans

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An economy bouncing back is ripe for investments; the CUNY 2020 program incentivizes the colleges to create economically stimulating ideas and compete with other CUNY schools.

CUNY 2020 is a “Challenge Grant Program” that pushes CUNY schools to come up with long term economic development plans that create jobs, help communities and ensure quality investments.

“One of the goals of CUNY 2020 is to support long term economic development, so the three projects will contribute to job growth in the NYC area, including jobs for QC students and alumni,” said Acting Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Elizabeth Hendrey.

The grant provided $55 million in capital funding for eight projects last year, including three different projects that QC took part in. The New York State 2014-2015 includes $110 million for the second round of CUNY 2020 and SUNY 2020 programs, according to the CUNY Newswire.

“We are part of a project with Queensborough Community College to develop an Advanced Manufacturing Center focused on 3D Printing. Our Computer Science Department will provide 3D printing programming support,” William Keller, vice president of Finance and Administration, said.

The project received $1.5 million from the CUNY 2020 Program. By investing into 3D printing, the cost of manufacturing can significantly decrease and reduce dependency on imports, according to the CUNY Newswire.
The second project is The Science and Resilience Center at Jamaica Bay, which will total $7.7 million. It is the construction of a new center to research environmental issues like climate change and environmental resilience, which means “the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change,” according to Ecology and Society, a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary online journal.

The Science and Resilience Institute is believed to have created 784 jobs in research and construction, as well as providing revitalization and more access to Jamaica Bay.

The college’s own Dr. John Waldman, professor of biology, wrote up the proposal for the Jamaica Bay Center, with colleagues Dr. William Solecki from Hunter College, Dr. John Marra and Dr. Brett Branco from Brooklyn College.

QC is collaborating with a number of organizations and CUNY colleges including Brooklyn College, Hunter College, the NASA Goddard Institute and the National Park Service on the Jamaica Bay Project, according to the CUNY Newswire.

The third project is the Center for Allied Healthcare Education and Workforce Development, given $10 million. It will start a health care clinic that would educate students as well as help under privileged members of the Northern Queens community.

Allied healthcare positions are careers that are different from nursing, medicine or pharmaceuticals, such as phlebotomists, medical assistants and various technicians. It is expected to add 791 jobs over the next three years.

Although QC is involved with the projects, the college does not take the lead. Instead the school only becomes involved when the administration of Queensborough or Brooklyn College asks, Keller noted.

Currently the projects are in their initial stages and costs of construction are being calculated, Deputy Director of Public Private Partnerships for CUNY Dana Sunshine said.

“A certain amount of design and different processes are needed to figure out, physically, what each project needs. Each of these projects are completely in the hands of the college campuses, with either consultation or direct investment with other public and private companies,” Sunshine said.

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