College/Career Ready Academy summer venues

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has launched a unique academic program designed to give students the tools they need not only to succeed in high school, but to be well-prepared for college and beyond.

Four institutions will host “The College/Career Ready Academy,” a week-long summer residential program for high-potential high school students. Scheduled during July, the Academy is designed to prepare students for the ultra-competitive worlds of college admissions and eventual employment. Registration for the Academy is open for high school students entering their freshman, sophomore or junior year this fall.

Smart’ Isn’t ‘Ready’

“ ‘Smart’ does not mean ‘ready’,” remarked Dana Egreczky, senior vice president for Workforce Development for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and president of the Chamber Foundation.

“In fact, one of the main reasons for low college graduation rates is that even students with great potential may take the wrong courses in high school, make poorly considered decisions, or simply not work hard enough,” Egreczky said.

“Because attendance at each Academy will be limited, individuals will receive a personalized experience and get the most out of what is an exceptional program,” she observed. “They will leave better prepared to succeed in college and in the workplace.”

College/Career Ready Academies will be held at the College of New Jersey in Ewing Township, Montclair State University, and the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Galloway Township. There also will be a program for college-bound students with mobility disabilities, at no cost to participants’ families.

Experiencing Interviews

Each Academy will be led by experienced facilitators who will involve participants in engaging presentations, instructional simulation games, online activities, and personal interactions with college admissions officials, university deans and professors, and business leaders.

Throughout the program, students will learn what colleges and employers expect, gain valuable insights and skills that can be used during the college admissions and career planning processes, and experience college and employment interviews.

Participants will leave with an understanding of how the academic and social decisions they make today could impact their ability to get into college and their employability, Egreczky said, adding they also will earn valuable credentials and a letter of recommendation on satisfactory completion of the Academy.

Signups Urged Now

While the programs will take place in July, parents or educators should enroll their teens now while there are still available openings, Egreczky advised.

The cost to attend one of the five-day programs is $1,850, which includes all activities, materials, meals, room and board. Discounts and scholarships are available. In addition, participating families may be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar tuition credit at more than 350 private colleges across the country through the Student Achievement Guided by Experience (SAGE) Scholars program.

For information about the College/Career Ready Academy, including staff and instructional content, visit www.CollegeCareerReadyAcademy.org, or call (609) 789-5279.

What We Want To Do…And Why

The College Career Ready Academy is a unique summer residential program for high-potential students that helps them prepare for college, work and life. It’s an initiative developed by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation (NJCCF) to support and improve New Jersey’s high-quality workforce.

Our goal for students who attend the Academy is to arm them with the “soft skills”, knowledge and motivation they need to succeed. Why is this needed? Well, take a look at some statistics:

  • Almost half of New Jersey’s college students take more than six years to earn a Bachelor’s Degree because they haven’t worked hard enough in high school.
  • Virtually every high school student who receives a New Jersey STARS scholarship is in the top 15% of his/her class – but needs remediation upon entering college.
  • Fewer than 7% of New Jersey students graduate with enough math and science to apply to schools like NJIT.

This last point is especially troubling. As of the end of 2013, the national unemployment rate was 7.0% – about 11 million people. Yet almost 4 million jobs went unfilled. Why? Employers indicated that they couldn’t find candidates with the skills needed for the existing positions.

Here’s another troubling statistic: Nationally, in just a few years, 2.4 million jobs will be available in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but over 90% of high school students – students from all walks of life – are not interested in those fields.

It’s not hard to see why these jobs will be available – think of all the new technologies emerging today, the drugs being developed, and so on. Traditional skills are less and less in demand, and globalization adds a new dimension to the job competition. Students need to make informed decisions about the career paths they’ll follow, especially in view of these trends.

Hence, the Academy. We want students to understand the educational and behavioral needs for their future success. We want students to learn life skills – how to budget their money, for example – to sustain and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Finally, we want to motivate them to perform at the best of their ability, starting in school and going forward, as this will be the key to their success.

If you are interested in sending your child, niece, nephew, grandchild to an Academy, you can find out more information at CollegCareerReadyAcademy.org or call Patty Cullinane at 609-789-5279.