Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates’ Program Expanding in Newark

Newark Public Schools Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf, State Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced that the successful ‘Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates’ program will be expanding in Newark. In addition to Barringer Academy for the Arts and Humanities, students at Barringer STEAM Academy; West Side Campus; and Weequahic High School will participate in the ‘Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates’ program.

“’Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates’ is an excellent program that gives our young people the skills they need to be successful in their academic and professional careers,” said Superintendent Cerf. “This program has helped keep many of our young people in school who may have otherwise dropped out. I have no doubt that the expansion of ‘Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates’ will help us reach more students and change their lives for the better.”

Senator M. Teresa Ruiz speaks at Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates event at Barringer Academy of the Arts and Humanities in Newark.

The program targets students who are at risk of dropping out and encourages them to stay in school. The program gives students the skills they need to graduate and pursue either a post-secondary education, a career in the military or a career upon graduation. Last year, 28 students at Barringer Academy of the Arts and Humanities participated in the program, and all 17 participating seniors graduated. In total, 120 students have participated in the Barringer ‘Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates’ program since its inception in 2011.

“Last year’s high graduation rates are outstanding and it makes perfect sense to replicate the program’s success in schools throughout the state,” said Donna Custard, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “We are thankful for the support of sponsors such as the Prudential Foundation, Wal-Mart, AT&T, IBM and PNC Bank.”

Chary Peralta and Kelvin Olivier discuss their experiences as students who benefited from JAG.

The ‘Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates’ program is part of a national initiative called ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates.’ The N.J. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently took over managing the program from the State Department of Education, which has managed the program since 2011. The program is expanding from four to 11 schools this year in Newark, Camden, East Orange, Carteret, New Brunswick and Vineland. An estimated 500 students are expected to participate this year, up from 134 last year. Graduation rates have ranged from 96 to 100 percent.

“This initiative has demonstrated positive results in Newark and around the state. It is making a real difference in students’ lives,” said Sen Ruiz (D-Essex), who serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee. “I am thrilled that it is a huge success in Newark, and that the program is expanding so more students will have the opportunity to participate. I want to thank the Chamber of Commerce Foundation for spearheading the program this year, and I look forward to its continued success in supporting students through graduation and helping them develop skills necessary for college, the military or the workforce.”

‘Jobs for New Jersey’s Graduates’ teaches students about important leadership and employment skills. Students also receive academic support, are given access to inspiring guest speakers, partake in tours of local businesses, and receive mentoring as they consider pursuing an academic or professional career. Students also have the opportunity to attend statewide and national conferences where they take part in competitions with other program participants. Graduates of the program continue to receive support for 12 months after graduation to help them as they transition into college or a career.