BY JOE MARVILLI
Queensborough Community College recently received a large grant that it is putting to use in its health and science departments.
On July 30, the college announced that it received an historic grant of $11.5 million as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NY CUNY 2020 Awards. College officials plan to use that funding to establish a healthcare clinic, upgrade its biotechnology lab and create a 3-D printing center.
The CUNY 2020 program links the innovation of higher education to regional economic development. As part of the 2013-2014 State budget, Cuomo appropriated $55 million to distribute as grants to four-year and two-year colleges throughout the CUNY system. The money was given to projects based on their economic impact, academic advancement, innovation and collaboration.
QCC divided its funding into two chunks to provide for three projects that will help students, faculty and the community at large.
The first of two grant initiatives is the Center for Allied Healthcare Education and Workforce Development. QCC was awarded $10 million to establish an off-campus healthcare clinic and training center in Queens. Partnering with Urban Health Plan Inc., the 19,000-square-foot facility will provide training programs and clinical rotations for nursing students and continuing education students heading down health-related career paths.
The center’s role as a clinic will bring quality primary and specialty care health services to the community in an affordable, comprehensive and high-quality manner through performance advancements of innovative best practices.
The initiative is expected to add more than 700 jobs over three years, with 600 of the jobs being filled by graduates entering the workforce in professions related to allied healthcare education.
Denise Ward, interim vice president, Pre-College, Continuing Education and Workforce Development, said that QCC collaborated with Urban Health Plan due to its strong reputation, its desire to expand and the opportunities it can offer the college’s health students.
“We understand that the future of healthcare services is being disseminated from hospitals to community health centers,” Ward said. “UHP is one of the top 20 health centers in the country. They are located predominately in the Bronx but started to open clinics in Queens a few years ago and shared with us that they wanted to expand.”
The $10 million will also let QCC upgrade its campus biotechnology lab with state-of-the-art equipment. It will get specialized tools, such as a Fluorimeter/Phosphorimager, Ultracentrifuge, Confocal microscope bench, UV/Vis Spectrophotometer and Chromatography refrigerator.
“One area of research and education that will be supported with this equipment is in hospital acquired infections. For example, research will be conducted in the molecular aspects of how germs die by studying the use of copper vs. steel in hospital equipment and facilities,” Ward said.
Ward added that the acquisition, reconstruction and outfitting of the health clinic and the renovation of the biotechnology lab should be completed within the next year.
The other $1.5 million grant will create an Advanced Manufacturing Center focused on 3-D printing, to be renovated and equipped with 3-D printing equipment. The center will offer workshops and courses to students, high school and college faculty and industry members.
Stuart Asser, a professor and chairperson of engineering technology, said the 3-D printing will give students and faculty a chance to familiarize themselves with an invention that will change the industry.
“I think it’s going to revolutionize manufacturing,” he said. “You’re going to need people who are familiar with how to use a 3-D printer. Then you need people who can actually do the design as the field expands.”
Asser added that he hopes the facility is up-and-running in six months’ time, with the potential for QCC to start courses and workshops in the spring.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.