Jefferson Park Ministries, Inc. and the Union County College (UCC) Division of Economic Development and Continuing Education, will be introducing the newly created Haitian American Chamber of Commerce (HACC) of New Jersey on May 3, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. in the College's Kellogg Building on its Elizabeth campus in Room 519. This is the first HACC in New Jersey.

The mission of the HACC is to economically empower and sustain Haitian American communities throughout NJ through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activities in NJ and Haiti. The goals of the member organizations are to increase business development and growth via procurement, capital access and international trade. The group will be entitled to funding and to help guide the programs that are established through HACC. In conjunction with UCC, HACC will help train and educate members of the business community on business development. As well, technical support will be provided to members and affiliate chapters.

The HACC will bring various Haitian professions, individuals, and students from throughout the state to become members of the chamber. The upcoming meeting has been designed to develop innovative changes for the future of Haiti and for the development of Haitian American representation within each State.

"The resiliency of our Haitian brothers and sisters in Haiti is being tested. It is up to us in the Diaspora to help them carry their burden and ease their suffering by organizing ourselves, getting involved in our state and being a voice", said Catherine Rousseau Saintilien, Chairwoman of the Chamber. The chamber will encourage other Haitian American individuals throughout the State to open chapters in the difference counties where there is a large presence of Haitian businesses. "For the next months we will be meeting with other sisters chambers throughout Essex and Union Counties to form partnership so we can work and share our resources," said the Executive Director McRuben Francois.

Dr. Paul Jurmo, Dean of UCC's Division of Economic Development and Continuing Education, says "UCC is pleased to support the efforts of Jefferson Park Ministries and the new Haitian Chamber of Commerce. This is a positive example of a joint effort of community group and the business community to build local economic self-sufficiency. UCC provides occupational and basic skills programs to job seekers, incumbent workers, and business and labor representatives, to support the economic and social growth of Union County's communities. UCC has recently been providing English as a second language, computer skills, and financial literacy classes for Haitian community members. We will continue to seek funding and to develop services for Haitians, other community groups, employers and labor unions." For more information or to sponsor the event, please contact McRuben Francois, Executive Director or Catherine R. Saintilien, chairwoman, at (908) 469-1519.