Thousands More New Yorkers to Get Training in High-Growth Industries

The City University of New York will launch the next phase of its successful Upskilling program, investing nearly $2 million in accelerated training for New Yorkers to secure jobs or obtain course credentials that can help them advance their careers in high-demand fields.

The expansion allows more than 2,000 New Yorkers to enroll in courses at CUNY’s Adult and Continuing Education departments (ACE) thanks to funding from the New York State Department of Labor* (NYSDOL), BNY Mellon and JPMorgan Chase. 

“We’re proud to be able to continue expanding pathways for New Yorkers who want to meet the demands of booming industries, but are not in a position to seek formal degrees,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to higher education. There is a growing need to help New Yorkers secure work and advance in their careers. Continuing this Upskilling program here at CUNY is a way for us to uphold our commitment to accessibility and bettering the city.”

The Upskilling program began during the pandemic in an effort to contribute to New York’s recovering economy and provide participants with important professional skills. Over 7,000 participants have enrolled in 69 no-cost virtual courses under five training tracks that they can complete at their own pace. There is no limit to how many trainings students can take, and many engaged in CUNY’s 90-Day Upskilling Challenge, which awarded prizes to those who completed multiple courses. 

One of those students was Arnold Moctezuma, a LaGuardia Community College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice graduate who completed 11 courses as part of the Upskilling Challenge after graduation in 2020 and is now building his own business as an IT consultant.

Hands on, Leg up

“Despite having seven years of IT experience, I just didn’t know how to stand out on paper, so I saw Upskilling as an opportunity for hands-on experience,” said Moctezuma, a 34-year-old DACA recipient. Upskilling allowed him to sharpen his knowledge of programming languages and access software that is typically expensive to explore. “Right after graduating, certain jobs just expect you to know all about programs. The program helped me get my foot in the door a lot faster,” he added.

50 Courses on 11 Campuses

For part two of the program, the University plans to offer nearly 50 free and low-cost courses in high-growth industries such as health care, technology, business operations and marketing. Courses are designed and delivered by CUNY Adult and Continuing Education departments at 11 campuses in partnership with employers including NYU Langone and Amazon Web Services.

The new investment will also allow CUNY to fund staff to engage employers and work with faculty to make sure these courses can bear credit when a student enrolls in future degree programs.

Participating schools include Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College, City College, NYC College of Technology, College of Staten Island, John Jay College, Kingsborough Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College, Queensborough Community College and York College.

Additional colleges are currently under review. The online program application is open and available here. More information on the Upskilling Initiative and available courses can also be found here.

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 243,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

*The state funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Education Reimagine Workforce Preparation grant.