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Yelena Melikian Named Recipient of Verizon Next Step Program
Yelena Melikian, director of New York City College of Technology’s Business & Industry Training Center, who oversees the Division of Continuing Education’s customized and collaborative programs with private companies, public agencies and unions, has been named recipient of the 2009 Verizon Next Step Program (NSP) Star Award in recognition of her contributions to the success of the utility giant’s innovative and nationally renowned educational program to develop its new generation of technicians. She was nominated for the award earlier this year by Professor Aron Goykadosh, Next Step Program coordinator.
In spring 1996, Ms. Melikian assumed oversight of the Verizon Next Step Program at City Tech and worked with a team of faculty and administrators to institutionalize NSP at the college. She received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the challenges of collaborative work between industry and academia based on Verizon’s NSP experience. Through interviews with Verizon and CWA representatives, focus groups and surveys of NSP students, and interviews with college faculty and senior officials, she compiled and wrote two NSF reports on the implementation challenges and accomplishments of NSP at City Tech from 1995 through 1997. She has presented on NSP and different aspects of the collaborative model at conferences nationwide, including the Commission on Life Long Learning in Washington, DC, and the Workforce Development Initiatives for New York City Public Transportation Conference.
NSP allows contract-qualified Verizon associates who are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to earn an associate in applied science degree in telecommunications technology from a participating college. Many NSP students have been among the top graduates in their classes and several have been valedictorians at graduation ceremonies.
During the past 15 years, Ms. Melikian has been a staunch advocate of NSP at City Tech and promoted its innovative approaches to pedagogy and integration of technology among college faculty and administration. She has worked with successive NSP program coordinators and managed the transitions, and is actively involved in overall program management and the evaluation process. Her close collaboration primarily with the Electrical & Telecommunications Engineering Technology and other contributing departments have enhanced overall success of this program at City Tech.
Professor Melikian also teaches economics for City Tech’s Department of Social Sciences, is a member of the college’s Online Learning Advisory Council, and has been teaching online courses on the Economics of Labor and Management and Macroeconomics. She has received a number of awards for program development and business/industry linkages.