CUNY Launches Tech Mentoring Program To Enable M/WBEs To Take Courses

By MBE Magazine Staff 
Last updated on January 18th, 2020 08:03 pm

Program Funded With $100,000 Grant From Verizon Foundation

STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK–A $100,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation will fund the creation of an emerging technology mentorship program at the City University of New York that targets 250 small businesses owned by veterans, minorities and women throughout New York City, enabling the entrepreneurs to take courses at five CUNY colleges. The grant, awarded to the Lehman College School of Continuing and Professional Studies’ Bronx Tech Incubator, which serves local entrepreneurs, will enable Lehman to partner with a CUNY senior college in each borough: Baruch College in Manhattan, New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, Queens College, and the College of Staten Island.

Courses will introduce these local entrepreneurs to the practical application of 5G technologies, Artificial Intelligence for small businesses and cloud computing, as well as other web-based tools and applications. The 12-hour introductory classes will be taught over four evenings or two days at each of the five colleges, with the aim of training 50 small business owners per borough.

“This innovative program, which involves a CUNY college in every borough, is another illustration of the integral role the University plays throughout New York City,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “This generous grant from the Verizon Foundation will enable CUNY to continue its goal of helping city-based veteran-, minority- and women-owned small businesses become more competitive, a responsibility we take very seriously as the country’s most diverse public higher education institution.”

The Bronx Business Tech Incubator was established in 2017 to foster technological development for small businesses, tech freelancers and entrepreneurs from underserved communities in the Bronx by providing access to technology and training they otherwise would not be able to afford. The Incubator is also home to the only virtual reality/augmented reality lab in the Bronx.

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 colleges11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving 275,000 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.