LaGuardia to set up shop at Willets for first time Monday

LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow speaks at a press conference Tuesday.

LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow speaks at a press conference Tuesday.

LaGuardia Community College will roll into Willets Point for the first time Monday in an effort to coax workers in the industrial business community to get involved with their Workforce Assistance Program.

LaGuardia President Gail Mellow said that starting on Monday morning, a CUNY on Wheels mobile classroom will be parked on 126th Street between 38th and 39th Avenue on a regular basis. The mobile classroom will be used to conduct outreach with workers at Willets Point who would be displaced if the city’s plans for redevelopment are approved by the City Council.

“My sense is that we’re going to be giving the people the tools to build the platform that will move their lives and move this city forward,” Mellow said.

It will be the college’s first foray into the area since it was chosen by the city to lead the Workforce Assistance Program. Interviews with workers in the area Friday revealed mixed emotions about the program.

“Why would I want to go talk to them?” said Edgar Herrera, an auto-mechanic who works on 37th Avenue. “I’ve got a job and I know how to do what I love to do. If they want to come here, tell them to put in some drains.”

Another worker from the area, who identified herself as Jasmina, said she would be willing to hear what LaGuardia had to say.

“I might go see what’s there. I mean, I might lose my job anyways and I have a family to feed, three kids,” she said. “What other choice do I have?”

LaGuardia’s planned 18-month program will be available to the 1,300 current employees in Willets Point and will include English language classes, vocational assessment, job readiness skills, placement services and cash incentives for participation.

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