Stakeholders from around the state joined the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, on Monday, November 20, 2017 in Princeton for “65 by 25: Many Paths, One Future – The Equity Imperative,” during which the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) received one of four Equity Trailblazer Awards. Presented “in recognition of innovative, exemplary efforts toward achieving New Jersey’s attainment goal,” awards were also presented to the Garden State LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) housed at Rutgers University-Newark, Gateway to College at Camden County College, and the Rowan College at Gloucester County Work and Learn Consortium.
The Equity Imperative event was hosted by the Secretary of Higher Education in partnership with Aaron R. Fichtner, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington, as a part of the state’s 65 by 25 campaign which officially launched in September 2017. With a goal of raising the percentage of New Jersey residents that have a post-secondary credential from the current 50 percent to 65 percent by 2025, the initiative is “helping to ensure an innovative, competitive, inclusive and prosperous future” for New Jersey and promoting collaboration between colleges and universities, businesses, and government officials.
In line with the mission and goals of the state, NCLC, which is housed on the Rutgers University-Newark campus, was launched in 2015 to help Newark become a more economically vibrant city by increasing the number of residents that have education or training beyond high school to 25 percent by 2025. Also like the state-wide initiative, NCLC works with a cross-section of stakeholders from higher education, K-12 schools, corporations, city government, foundations, and non-profit organizations to expand Newark’s college-going culture and develop clear pathways for residents to earn degrees or other credentials.
In attendance to accept the Equity Trailblazer Award on behalf of NCLC was Executive Director Reginald Lewis, who said during his remarks, “In just a few short years, we’ve managed to mobilize an entire city to begin to change a mindset in earnest about what’s possible: that many more residents can aspire to attain college and other post-secondary credentials…which gives us hope that 25 by 2025 remains in reach.”
Acknowledging the many partnerships that make the work of NCLC possible, Mr. Lewis highlighted the main take away for the event: collaboration is key to help make New Jersey a stronger and more equitable state.