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$116 million gift to community college from Steven and Alexandra Cohen
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$116 million gift to community college from Steven and Alexandra Cohen

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, led by philanthropist and New York Mets owner Alex Cohen, has awarded a grant of $116.2 million to LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens, to create the Cohen Career Collective, a state-of-the-art workforce training center. The 160,000 square-foot facility will ensure economic mobility for New Yorkers while providing skilled workers for local employers.

“We are profoundly grateful for this incredible gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation,” said Kenneth Adams, President of LaGuardia Community College. “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.”

“I wanted to create a place where students have access to high-quality programs and facilities and can learn the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world,” said Alex Cohen, President of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “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.”

Adams added, “Alex Cohen is passionate about making quality, affordable workforce training available to low-income New Yorkers who want to learn new skills, get good jobs, and provide for their families. We are truly honored that she turned to LaGuardia to bring her vision to life through the creation of the Cohen Career Collective.”

Education and training programs at the Cohen Career Collective will lead to associate degrees, industry certifications, and other credentials valued by New York City employers in high-demand sectors, including Healthcare, Construction, Technology, Culinary & Hospitality, Green Jobs, and Film and Television. Comprehensive student support services will also be available, such as career advising, preparation for job interviews, job placement, childcare, and financial literacy training.

The Cohen Career Collective will include specialized shops, labs, and classrooms for hands-on instruction and training. It will also have quiet study areas, student meeting rooms, a Career Services Center, computer labs, a lecture hall, storage areas for equipment and materials, restrooms, locker rooms, mechanical rooms, electrical/data closets, and a Student Welcome Center.

“This exceptional gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation – the largest ever in CUNY’s history – will be transformational. The Cohen Career Collective will dramatically increase CUNY’s capacity to prepare students for career success and economic mobility,” said William C. Thompson, Jr., Chairman of the CUNY Board of Trustees. “LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, and New York’s economic prosperity depends on a well-educated and highly trained workforce, and this historic gift will position CUNY as the leader in workforce development in the healthcare, construction, technology, culinary and hospitality, green jobs and film and television sectors. We thank the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for their extraordinary generosity.”

“CUNY is immensely grateful to the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for this extraordinary gift that will have a transformational impact for LaGuardia Community College and CUNY,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “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. I look forward to the many ways in which the Cohen Career Collective will help promote educational equity and advance LaGuardia and CUNY’s role as a driver of inclusive growth in New York.”

In addition to career and technical training, The Cohen Career Collective will provide English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for foreign-born students who need to improve their English before taking vocational programs. High-school equivalency classes will be offered to ensure that trainees obtain their GEDs, the basic credential required for most jobs. The Cohen Career Collective will also be the home of LaGuardia’s Summer Youth Employment Program, which the college runs in collaboration with the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.

Students of the Cohen Career Collective will include recent high school graduates, new immigrants and asylum-seekers, students in the college’s Associate degree programs, veterans, the formerly incarcerated, workers in search of new skills and career opportunities, students with disabilities, and many others.

Construction of the facility is anticipated to be completed by January 2029.

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has provided over $1.2 billion to nonprofit organizations since inception in 2001, including over $185 million of charitable support focused on Queens.

Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is committed to inspiring philanthropy and community service by creating awareness, offering guidance, and leading by example to show the world what giving can do. The Foundation’s grants support nonprofit organizations based in the United States that either help people in need or solve complex problems.

LaGuardia Community College, a Hispanic-Serving Institution located in Long Island City, Queens, offers more than 50 associate degrees as well as more than 65 workforce training programs for New Yorkers of all ages, backgrounds and aspirations. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the college reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor remembered for his advocacy of the underserved. Since 1971, LaGuardia has offered students from Queens and beyond access to high-quality, affordable education and training.

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