LaGuardia Community College Students Move from Mastercard Apprentices to Employees
Program, created in partnership with New York Jobs CEO Council, addresses the hiring needs of leading employers and trains a diverse group of New Yorkers for dynamic STEM jobs
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (May 31, 2023) — Twelve LaGuardia Community College/CUNY students celebrated the completion of their nine-month apprenticeships at Mastercard, working with cybersecurity, product development, and related computer engineering teams, at a graduation ceremony at Mastercard’s NYC Tech Hub on May 30. They will begin their full-time jobs at the global financial business on June 1.
The LaGuardia students are pursuing their Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees in Network Administration & Information Security. The LaGuardia–Mastercard Apprenticeship Program was developed in partnership with the New York Jobs CEO Council to train a diverse group of students ready to step into jobs affected by a global shortage of workers in these fields.
“That all 12 students doing technology apprenticeships at Mastercard were offered full-time job offers at Mastercard is a tremendous outcome from this program. It shows that the students were well-prepared for their apprenticeships through their coursework at LaGuardia and that Mastercard technology professionals saw value that the students brought to their teams,” said Kenneth Adams, President of LaGuardia Community College. “We expect that this program will become a model for future collaborations with New York City’s leading employers and are grateful to the New York Jobs CEO Council for their integral role in making it happen.”
LaGuardia graduates more students with STEM degrees than nearly all other CUNY colleges and graduate schools. In fact, 20% of LaGuardia’s graduates are in a STEM field.
Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach is a member of the New York Jobs CEO Council, which brought LaGuardia and Mastercard together for this partnership.
“Our unique credit-bearing apprenticeship transforms college curriculum, corporate talent acquisition, and opportunities for community college students and their families—bridging education and business to create career pathways directly into high-demand jobs with family-sustaining wages,” said Dr. Karrin Wilks, Chief Learning Officer for the New York Jobs CEO Council.
The 12 students were among those selected for a summer 2022 bootcamp in preparation for potential apprenticeships at Mastercard. The bootcamp featured an accelerated curriculum in network administration, security, cyber intelligence, and product development. Following the bootcamp, the 12 students selected as apprentices worked 19–21 hours/week from September 2022 through May 2023 at Mastercard while continuing their studies at LaGuardia.
Many of the students in the LaGuardia-Mastercard apprenticeship program are immigrants or from immigrant families and are the first in their families to go to college. They include:
George Guallpa was raised in New York City by parents who emigrated from Ecuador. “As an immigrant, I’d felt obliged to pursue traditional jobs like physician, lawyer, or engineer. I started at another college as a computer science major but realized that back-end programming isn’t for me. Thankfully, I learned about the Network Administration and Information Security major and the opportunity at Mastercard. I didn’t even know that cybersecurity—a middleware job—was something that I could potentially work in. I’m thrilled to be at Mastercard.” George is on track to graduate from LaGuardia in June, and then plans to pursue a bachelor’s in business or technology.
Rachel Sinclair is from Jamaica. “Working at Mastercard has taught me to think on a global scale, i.e., what people’s lives are like across the world and how do the services and products we create at Mastercard impact them. My career plan is to grow within Mastercard and help to create innovative products and services that make individuals’ lives easier and more secure.” Rachel is on track to graduate from LaGuardia in June. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the future.
Julio Sambula Green is a Honduras native who is the first in his family to go to college. “Earning both an apprenticeship and job offer from Mastercard means the beginning of great things.” Julio expects to graduate from LaGuardia in June and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in the future.
Kevin Coronel is the first in his family to go to college. Kevin describes earning an apprenticeship and job offer at Mastercard as his biggest achievement to date. “I feel so pumped for the future. It means I’m able to grow and go to school (part-time) without having to stress about my living situation or paying for school.” Kevin plans to graduate in December and then pursue a bachelor’s at Baruch College or at an online university.
Ghizlane El haddad is from Morocco. For Ghizlane, landing an apprenticeship and job offer at Mastercard “is a BIG change in my life; the offer will provide financial stability and security for me and my family. This has had a significant impact on my confidence and future career plans. It opens up new opportunities for career growth and development.” Ghizlane’s goal is to advance her career at Mastercard—taking on new responsibilities and contributing to the company’s growth, while continuing to develop her technical skills through education. She will graduate from LaGuardia in June and is considering whether to pursue a bachelor’s degree. She plans to start her own business in the future.
Robert Ferrara was born and raised in The Bronx and currently lives in Astoria, Queens. After starting college at another institution, he took an eight-year break before enrolling at LaGuardia, where he helps run CyberNinjas, a cybersecurity interest group for LaGuardia students. Robert plans to graduate from LaGuardia in June and then pursue cloud and cyber-related professional certifications to further his career.
Dominik Sierra Lino is the first in his family to go to college. He started at another college, but dropped out to work full-time after his father suffered an accident. After several years, he returned to LaGuardia to finish his education. “Before entering the apprenticeship, I was hesitant to enter due to having low confidence in my abilities, but Professor Doyel Pal, director of the Network Administration & Information Security program, has always believed in me and pushed me.” Dominik plans to graduate from LaGuardia in December, and then transfer to a four-year school to earn his bachelor’s degree.
Stanely Mondesir is an immigrant who plans to graduate from LaGuardia in June. Currently, his focus is on gaining experience and earning professional certificates and he is considering whether to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Juan Paredes was born and raised in New York City. “I want to learn more, try different things, and expand my roles. Prior to this I was insecure and unsure of where my career was going. The apprenticeship and my experience here opened my eyes to what my future could become.” Juan will graduate from LaGuardia in June and then plans to transfer to Baruch College where he’ll pursue his bachelor’s degree part-time while working full-time at Mastercard.
Ray Rozon was born and raised in the U.S. to parents who emigrated from the Dominican Republic. He chose LaGuardia because both of his parents are LaGuardia graduates. “Getting hired at Mastercard is a massive confidence booster and a great start to the direction I want to take my career.” Ray expects to graduate from LaGuardia in June, and then pursue a bachelor’s degree at a school that offers an online degree program in Data Analytics.
Teyshaan Hall is the first in his family to go to college. He’s on track to graduate from LaGuardia after the Spring 2023 semester.
Arnam Anan is from Bangladesh. He plans to graduate from LaGuardia in June.
Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2023 Semester at LaGuardia Community College. Financial aid is available. To learn more and to apply, click here.
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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), 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.