Queens College Awarded Grants

BY JOE MARVILLI
Staff Writer

Queens College has received two grants to wrap up the year, one from the State and one from the federal government.

The college was awarded a $250,000 grant to establish a technology incubator from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Regional Economic Development Council. From the federal government, its Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, partnered with Make the Road New York, received a grant of $547,000 to do research on how to improve working conditions for immigrant construction workers in post-disaster reconstruction.

The Queens Tech Incubator grant was given as part of the Regional Economic Development Council’s initiative to help support economic growth in the State. The council awarded a total of $57.4 million to various projects in New York City.

The incubator will be placed at the Schutzman Center for Entrepreneurship, offering education, workspace and other services centered on technology.

“The incubator will expand the programming from the Schutzman Center for Entrepreneurship at Queens College with a presence in Long Island City to connect our students with the tech industry,” Elizabeth Hendrey, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, said.

Queens College has partnered with the Coalition for Queens for this project. While the specific plans have not yet been laid out for the incubator, Hendrey said the two groups will meet in January to work out the details.

Queens College’s Center for the Biology of Natural Systems was also recently awarded a grant, this one from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control.

This grant is part of the federal government’s response to the aftereffects of Superstorm Sandy, as it hopes the project will provide information about unsafe working conditions in a post-hurricane environment and will develop methods to address those hazards. These new methods and results will be given out to community groups, labor organizations, the public health community and other concerned parties.

Make The Road New York and Queens College are recruiting and training immigrant laborers for the project.
Throughout the course of the two-year study, they will conduct more than 200 safety and health hazard assessments.

The workers will be looking at sites damaged by Superstorm Sandy, such as the Rockaways, Staten Island and Long Island. Those who take part will have to complete a survey to get an idea of what their work conditions are like, covering everything from accidents to lead paint exposure.

“It’s a real puzzle to figure out how to make work safer for immigrant construction workers, especially in post-disaster setting,” Steven Markowitz, M.D., director of the CBNS, said. “Our theme is to unravel this puzzle and figure out what training, equipment and public activities will succeed in making work safer for the rest of this workforce.”

Other partners in this study include the CUNY School of Public Health, the City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, New Perspectives, Inc. and Maria Brunette, PhD.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.