Empire State Development Announces More Than $200,000 Awarded To LaGuardia Community College To Launch Accelerated Training For Film Production Accounting

November 16, 2023

Funded Through the New York State Film Production Tax Credit Program

Will Provide Skills and Training to Promote a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced more than $200,000 has been awarded to support LaGuardia Community College’s "We Count - Pathways to Production Accounting for the Entertainment Industry" program, designed to train unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers for in-demand entertainment industry accounting jobs. The grant funding comes from the first-in-the-nation New York Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program, which was developed to incentivize job creation and training programs that support efforts to recruit, hire, promote, retain, develop, and train a diverse and inclusive workforce for New York’s motion picture and television industry. The funding comes from a 0.5% portion of the Film and Television tax credit. The six-week accelerated training program began this month and is provided tuition-free for students who will earn stipends, job placement assistance and other benefits.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The film and television industry is vital to New York’s economy and it offers well-paying jobs to tens of thousands of residents throughout the state. We are committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers have the ability to live and work in New York State and are able to obtain the skills in sought after industries, so they too can thrive.”

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams said, “With LaGuardia’s location in Western Queens, which has been a hub for film and entertainment production since the silent movie era, and our diverse student population, we are in a unique position to recruit, train, and promote the inclusive workforce that the film and entertainment industry seeks. Our gratitude to Empire State Development for the funding that has enabled us to launch We Count in partnership with the local film industry and Local 161. Not only will this program establish a pathway to careers in the entertainment industry accounting field for unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers, but it will introduce our accounting and business administration majors to opportunities in the entertainment and performing arts industries.”

The We Count program was developed in partnership with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 161 production accountants and Trevanna Post, an accounting firm serving the entertainment industry. We Count students will have opportunities for hands-on experience in film and television production accounting and a fast track to industry jobs, thanks to these partnerships.

"We are proud to support these students interested in a career as Production Accountants,” said Cynthia O'Rourke, Local 161's Business Agent. “Accounting is critical to every production, and We Count is a fantastic way to introduce LaGuardia's students to one of the more hidden career paths in the motion picture industry.”

Trevanna Post CEO Yana Collins Lehman said, “Trevanna Post is thrilled to partner with LaGuardia again on this unique course. As a post accounting firm, Trevanna Post inherits the work of Production Accountants and is acutely aware of the need for high-level training in this department. We love letting hard working students know that their interest in accounting can make movies and TV shows! Their talents aren’t relegated to the CPA track. I’m grateful to ESD for appreciating the need for this training and working so hard to make the course a reality.”

Students who complete We Count will be prepared to enter the workforce for an entry level job on a production or post-production accounting crew, or for further accelerated training for a higher position via film and television production companies or Local 161 training programs.

LaGuardia serves a highly diverse population of nearly 15,000 students in associate degree programs. Consistent with the demographics of Queens, 52% of LaGuardia students are born outside of the United States. They come from 133 countries and speak 62 languages. More than half are first-generation college students, and a majority (88%) are ethnic minorities. LaGuardia is a U.S. Education Department-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Today’s announcement complements the previously announced Film Production Training Program  at LaGuardia, a 14-week, part‐time training for entry‐level employment film production assistants in electrical, grip, or property supported through a New York Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant. ESD awarded LaGuardia Community College more than $200,000 to train unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers in the film industry.

The New York Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program is designed to incentivize job creation and training programs that support efforts to develop and train a diverse and inclusive workforce in the motion picture and television industry. The program makes 1:1 matching grants from $25,000 to $500,000 available to eligible programs in film and television development and editing. Proposed programs must address the grant program’s goals of providing opportunities for diverse workers and/or those located in economically distressed areas of New York State. Applications are being accepted at esd.ny.gov/new-york-entertainment-workforce-diversity-grant-program.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov [regionalcouncils.ny.gov] and www.esd.ny.gov [esd.ny.gov].

About LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC)

LAGCC is a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. 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 beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.

Kristin Devoe | (518) 414-1087 | [email protected]
ESD Press Office | (800) 260-7313 | [email protected]