CUNY receives grant from Cognizant foundation

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

The Cognizant Foundation announced that $6.3 million in grants will go to 13 different organizations and other educational institutions, including CUNY. The grant will go towards efforts in supporting the advancement of marginalized groups in the technology field.

Lauren Andersen, CUNY university dean of industry and talent partnerships, released a statement where she expressed gratitude to the foundation for its generosity. She noted the similar interest that both CUNY and Cognizant share in providing students with a quality education.

“The missions of The City University of New York and the Cognizant Foundation align perfectly when it comes to ensuring that students from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds will have the tools they need for the in-demand jobs they want after graduation,” Andersen said. “We thank the Cognizant Foundation for partnering with CUNY to raise our campus industry engagement capacity to the next level and build the talent pipelines that will help graduates and businesses thrive. We look forward to the work ahead.”

In Cognizant’s announcement, CUNY was recognized as a leading organization for researching ways of creating a fairer workforce and economic mobility. Cognizant highlighted the racial inequality in the workforce’s recovery attempt during a post-COVID-19 pandemic stage.

In December 2021, the unemployment number dropped to 3.2% for white workers while it was 4.9% for Latino workers. Unemployment numbers for the Black working force increased to 7.1% due to “longstanding and systemic barriers.”

“Leading organizations and institutions such as JFF, Christensen Institute, CUNY and Opportunity@Work are consistently working towards new, innovative ways to foster a more equitable workforce recovery for communities of color as well as workers who are skilled through alternative routes,” Cognizant said in its statement.

Cognizant Executive Director Kristen Titus said the grants will ensure that marginalized groups continue to grow in an evolving workforce where technology skills are in demand.

“Through these investments, we are committed to ensuring historically excluded populations thrive in an ever-changing workforce where technology skills are paramount,” Titus said. “We must continue to act with vigilance and urgency in our work to bring forth equitable access to industry-aligned education and career pathways—and look forward to advancing economic mobility in communities across the U.S.”

The Cognizant Foundation was founded in 2018 with a mission to prepare the next generation of people for today’s workforce. Since its creation, Cognizant has awarded over $60 million to over 70 different organizations that aim at improving the quality of education through technical training programs and research.

Other organizations that won Cognizant’s grant include the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Center for Inclusive Computing and Center for the Future of Arizona.