Entertainment, in all of its many forms, is crucial to the economy of New York City, bringing — by conservative estimate — five billion dollars annually to the city.
A new joint venture between New York City College of Technology/CUNY (City Tech), Local 817 of the Teamsters Union and the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, will help produce the high-tech workforce essential to the expansion of this important economic sector.
Recently, at a Gracie Mansion celebration, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the formation of the Made in New York Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to eligible students attending City Tech, 300 Jay Street, who are pursuing baccalaureate degrees in the Entertainment Technology field.
Funding for the program came as a result of a $500,000 contribution made by Teamsters Local 817 to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York. The gift will endow the scholarship program, through which five students each year will receive $5,000 grants, covering full tuition and fees.
The City Tech academic program, the only one of its kind in the eastern half of the U.S., promotes the mastery of the technologies that drive film and television productions, as well as music, live entertainment and exhibitions in various venues.
The program also spurs the development of the highly skilled and diverse technical workforce needed to support the growth of New York City’s entertainment industries.
City Tech, which is frequently cited as among the most diverse colleges of its type in the Northeast, can provide both technological mastery and diversity. The expertise of the Department of Entertainment Technology at City Tech has led this young program to a growing national reputation.
David Smith, chairman of the department, is a concert violinist, a composer and the author of the computer program Sinfonia. This computer program, which allows the simulation of a full symphonic orchestra in small settings, has led to the description of Smith as “the father of the virtual symphony.”
Professor John Huntington’s book, “Control Systems for Live Entertainment,” is in its third edition and is regarded as the most important publication in its field. The technology described in Huntington’s book is what controls the animatronic robots in DisneyWorld, the swinging chandelier in “Phantom of the Opera,” and other marvels of the modern world of entertainment.
Made in New York scholars will be well prepared for the entertainment world of tomorrow.
Russell K. Hotzler, president of New York City College of Technology, sees the new scholarship program as an important opportunity.
“The scholarship program fits perfectly with the mission of this college. We prepare technologically proficient graduates to strengthen our city, our state and our world. This gift will allow us to better serve the large and growing entertainment sector in New York. The future of entertainment technology will be ‘Made in New York,’” said Hotzler.
The new scholarship program is an outgrowth of the Made in New York initiative, spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. The initiative has included tax credits and other financial incentives, and has had an extraordinary impact.
“Just a few years ago, we were seeing films about New York being shot in other cities and countries,” said Commissioner Katherine Oliver. “Now, the ‘Made in New York’ program has created thousands of new jobs by bringing $2.4 billion in business to New York over the past two years.”
When they graduate, Made in New York Scholars will be an invaluable addition to the entertainment workforce, bringing sophisticated knowledge of the cutting-edge technologies upon which modern entertainment, in its many venues, depends.
“The members of Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 have been eager to repay the City of New York, for the jobs it has provided them and for the way of life it has afforded their families,” said Thomas J. O’Donnell, secretary-treasurer for Theatrical Teamsters Local 817.
“We can think of no better way to give back than the Made in NY Scholarship Program as Teamsters Local 817 has long put an emphasis on the education of its youth and now opens a door of opportunity for disadvantaged young New Yorkers to gain entry into the entertainment industry.”
Applications for the scholarship program are ongoing.
For more, visit www.citytech.cuny.edu/admissions/scholarships/index.shtml, or call 718-260-5979.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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