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Empire State Development Announces Opening of Sunnyside Community Services’ New $4.3 Million Home Health Aide Training Facility in Queens

Training Facility to Employ 577 Home Health Aides Within Five Years

Project Supports Workforce Pipeline for Growing Health Care Sector                                                                 

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the opening of Sunnyside Community Services' (SCS) new $4.3 million state-of-the-art home health aide training facility in Long Island City, Queens. The more than 7,700 square foot facility will allow SCS to maximize its existing home health aide training and employment programs to better train, place, and provide professional development to hundreds of home health aides annually. The facility includes three classrooms, a group meeting room, private counseling spaces, a lab practicum and equipment room, a pantry for kitchen training activities, offices and a dedicated reception area. New equipment - including smart boards, laptops, TV monitors, beds, lifts, and mannequins – will ensure that home health aides and trainees receive technologically-enhanced training and education experiences.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted a growing, ongoing need for trained and qualified home health aides, who are essential to the health and well-being of countless New Yorkers. Sunnyside Community Services' new state-of-the-art training facility addresses that need, through a workforce development program that will lead to jobs and opportunity for those aiming to learn vital healthcare skills.”

Empire State Development supported the facility through $750,000 capital grant, recommended by the New York City Regional Economic Development Council. The project aligns with and reflects New York State's efforts to close the skills gap by preparing individuals to enter career paths in the growing healthcare industry while expanding the workforce pipeline in a critical field. ESD’s grant will also support the creation of 577 new home health aides within five years.

Sunnyside Community Service’s Home Health Aide Training Program helps unemployed and underemployed individuals, primarily immigrant women, enter a career in the growing healthcare field. The four-week free training is offered in both Spanish and English and is open to those without a high school diploma or who have limited work experience. Participants learn how to help home care clients with their daily living activities and basic health needs – such as such as getting dressed, preparing meals, and going to appointments - through a curriculum that includes core subjects, as well as specialty training for the care of patients with neuromuscular disorders. Upon completion of the program, graduates receive certification by the New York State Department of Health.

New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Winston Fisher, Partner at Fisher Brothers, and Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, City University of New York Chancellor, said, “Sunnyside Community Services’ new facility, which encompasses its home health aide training program and other services that are vital to the surrounding community, represents a strategic public-private partnership. Expanding the pipeline of trained home health aide professionals reflects our commitment to creating quality jobs, while also ensuring quality care for those who depend on home health aides every day.”

Sunnyside Community Services Executive Director Judy Zangwill said, “As the city’s population of older adults continues to grow, it is imperative that our communities prepare by increasing the number of people entering the healthcare field. Our new space in Long Island City will allow us to train more people to carry out the vital work performed by home health aides. Homebound New Yorkers depend on home health aides for assistance with daily activities like preparing meals and getting dressed. With this new location, Sunnyside Community Services will not only be helping some of our city’s most vulnerable residents, but we will also be providing jobs and an entryway into the healthcare field for underemployed and unemployed residents. We are so thankful for the financial support provided for this project by Empire State Development. With their help, we will be able to increase the number of people trained in our Home Health Aide Training Program. This will make a significant difference to many homebound New Yorkers. We also are grateful for the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado and their commitment to improving the lives of New York residents.”

Assemblymember Catherine Nolan said, “It is so exciting to see Sunnyside Community Services’ expansion into Long Island City. This welcome expansion will provide adult educational opportunities, while also supporting our senior citizen population. Professional home health aides play a vital role in our healthcare system, and the advancement of this sector requires and deserves our attention and investment. I am proud to have long supported this project.  Congratulations to Sunnyside Community Services, executive director Judy Zangwill, TF Cornerstone, Jon McMillan, Empire State Development, community leaders, and all who have worked to make this project a reality.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said, “With the need for home health care aides on the rise as our population ages, it is important we have enough trained people ready to work in this area. The opening of this training facility is a major step forward in ensuring Queens residents can take advantage of the opportunities available in this fast-growing field. I congratulate Governor Hochul, Empire State Development and Sunnyside Community Services on the successful completion of this facility, and commend our State government on all of its efforts to promote economic growth through workforce development.”

Today's announcement complements Governor Hochul's reimagined approach to strategic, collaborative and equitable workforce development to encourage economic growth across New York State, including the creation of the Office of Strategic Workforce Development, which will be charged with improving the State's workforce development programs and practices to better align with the needs and priorities of today's employers. This new office will be established within Empire State Development and will be guided by the Regional Economic Development Councils. Governor Hochul first proposed the Office of Strategic Workforce Development in her State of the State address earlier this year and committed funding that was approved in the FY2023 budget.

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 Governor Cuomo’s 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, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

About Sunnyside Community Services

Sunnyside Community Services (SCS) is a community-based nonprofit centered on the belief that every person deserves meaningful support to achieve their aspirations – especially struggling families and individuals. SCS serves a diverse community of over 16,000 people of all ethnicities and income levels throughout Queens with programs that range from pre-K to college and career readiness, home care and home health aide training, Beacon and Cornerstone community centers for children and families, a vibrant senior center and full range of services for at-risk older adults including social adult day care for individuals with Alzheimer’s, and a city-wide program of supportive services for those who care for them.  With programs designed to enrich lives and strengthen communities through services and engagement for individuals at all ages, beginning with those most in need, SCS has been lighting up lives with programs as diverse as the people they serve since 1974.  For more information visit www.scsny.org.


Emily Mijatovic | [email protected] | (212) 803-3692