Wadhwani Foundation Chooses BMCC/CUNY and Healthcare Workers Union 1199 as its First Job Training Partners in the U.S.

INVITATION TO PRESS: Signing Ceremony at BMCC, Tuesday, December 17

NEW YORK, N.Y., Dec. 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Wadhwani Foundation, a non-profit organization located in with offices in Palo Alto, California and Bangalore, India, recently announced its partnership with Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) of the City University of New York (CUNY) and the 1199 SEIU / United Healthcare Workers East.

The purpose of the partnership is to launch the Foundation's first U.S.-based job training initiative, Race to a Job.

Participants will be healthcare workers employed throughout NYC. As students in the Medical Assistant Specialist program at BMCC's Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, they will upgrade their skills and gain stackable credentials to further their careers.

BMCC hosts official signing, Dec. 17

On Tuesday, December 17 at 12 p.m., there will be a formal signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement to commemorate this unprecedented educational partnership.

Wadhwani Foundation CEO Dr. Ajay Kela; BMCC President Antonio Pérez, and 1199 SEIU Director Sandi Vito will take part in the signing.

It will be held in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center in BMCC's new Fiterman Hall, 255 Greenwich Street at Park Place, just a block from the World Trade Center site and overlooking the World Trade Center Memorial Park.

Convenient, online instruction for working participants

The Wadhwani Foundation was founded in 2003 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, an IT entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, California. The Foundation provides technical support and training for individuals seeking to enter high-demand job markets—especially those that do not require college degrees.

"The Wadhwani Foundation aims to launch initiatives that have a sustained impact on economic development," says Dr. Wadhwani. "Race to a Job is one such initiative where technology tools like online courses, simulation and gaming will enable skill development. Race to a Job will be a catalyst to take skill development to scale and create an eco-system for larger participation."

Dr. Kela elaborates, "Race to a Job is a high-impact niche program that will develop participants' employment-ready skills, through a technology platform. In order to accelerate economic development, our aim is to revolutionize skill development to achieve the objective of vocational training to 5 million students over the next five years. We will leverage our expertise in technology to enable sustained productive employment. To start with, our goal is to create hybrid online courses in a more standardized, nationally scalable and portable manner to maximum benefit of growing human potential."

Upgrading the skills of people who are already engaged in their field of choice, says Dean Gupta, "enables them to earn industry-recognized credentials, and seek higher-level positions with their current employer. It also makes it possible for them to raise their family income enough to pursue their longer-term, higher education degrees, if that is their goal."
The Race to a Job training will be provided online, with some live classroom sessions—and it will use state-of-the-art, interactive, multimedia, and gaming technologies.

This delivery of instruction supports the hectic working schedules of working participants, and will serve as a model for other educational programs around the U.S. Also, courses will be offered through a "cloud"-based delivery system to support both online and offline learning strategies.

Participants will have ready online access to their instructors, as well as the opportunity to interact with each other, through digital-support networks.

Digitizing a curriculum, and providing a model for other programs

The first step in the Race to a Job pilot project will be to digitize the Medical Assistant Specialist curriculum in use now at BMCC, and jointly developed by BMCC, Lehman College, New York City Small Business Services (NYC SBS), Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS), and the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH).

That digitization will involve subject matter experts from BMCC, TUF, CHCANYS, NYACH, NYSBS, as well as health care practitioners and instructional designers. Technology vendors will then be contracted through a rigorous RFP selection process, to build the new digital content.

According to Wadhwani Foundation CEO, Dr. Ajay Kela, "What Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have done for access to academic education, and what Khan Academy has done for the delivery of math education, is what the Wadhwani Foundation seeks to do for the delivery of workforce education through Race to a Job."  

A dedicated team of content and instructional experts

"This collaboration will allow for stackable credentialing and portable, or nationally recognized certificates, in order to build enhanced career pathways for students in technical education," says Dean Sunil Gupta.

"In addition, once these new digital textbooks have been piloted with cohorts of students in New York, with the Wadhwani Foundation we aim to expand Race to a Job to secondary community colleges and adult education partners throughout the U.S."

The project's working team will consist of BMCC Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Sunil Gupta and Director of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Marina Abramov; TUF Assistant Director Sara Lawrence and Program Specialist Zdravko Smileski; NYACH Executive Director Shawna Trager; Wadhwani Foundation's Race to a Job Program Director Gayatri Agnew and Program Coordinator/NY Project Manager, Rishi Chopra.

Other news

In addition to its groundbreaking partnership with BMCC and 1199 SEIU, the Wadhwani Foundation has just announced a partnership with Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland—which is part of the National STEM Consortium—to digitize the college's cyber security curriculum.

The Wadhwani Foundation, founded in 2003 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, an IT entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, California, is a not-for-profit organization focused on high-impact, niche activities leading to accelerated economic development. Its mission is to help individuals achieve their full potential, regardless of background. The Foundation works in India on five specific initiatives: • National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) • Skills Development Network (SDN): Race to a Job Global • Opportunity Network for Disabled (ODN) • Research and Innovation Network (RIN)• India-US Policy.


Race to a Job (RTAJ) is an initiative of the Wadhwani Foundation, with operations in India and the United States. RTAJ leverages technology to meet the demands of the global skills gap by partnering with industry to develop and deploy jobs-driven curriculum and vocational training through a unique blend of online and offline learner-centric strategies.


Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) and enrolls over 25,000 degree-seeking and 11,000 Continuing Education students a year, awarding Associate Degrees in 33 fields.


1199 SEIU—the largest local union in the world—is a union of healthcare workers with nearly 400,000 members throughout New York State, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, Maryland and the District of Columbia.


Photos accompanying this release are available at:



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