JERSEY CITY, NJ - The ribbon cutting on the Hudson Helps Resource Center at Hudson County Community College was one more proud moment in the long history of a college that has become a huge part of the local community, officials said Thursday.
The center, located on the third floor of 70 Sip Avenue at the college’s Journal Square Campus in Jersey City, is designed to provide HCCC students with services, goods, financial assistance, counseling and a variety of programs in-person and remotely, all year round.
“This is an umbrella of services to our community,” Dr. Chris Reber, President of HCCC said, referring to the space as one more “labor of love” by a committed staff expressing love for their community.
“A beacon of hope and promise,” he added.
The idea behind the center, he said, was to remove those barriers that prevent students from succeeding in their studies and completing their degree and certificate work.
“This resource center provides a complete array of services and resources to address students’ myriad of needs and ensure their academic success,” he said.
David D. Clark, Ph.D. Associate Dean of Student Affairs, said the center started with an effort in the spring of 2019 to establish a food pantry at both the Journal Square and North Hudson Campuses, using funding provided by the HCCC Foundation.
Thousands of students went on to use the pantries. But it became obvious to college officials that there were other issues students faced that were not being met, situations that caused students to discontinue their studies.
The college established “Hudson Helps” that expanded the program to include emergency financial assistance that could help struggling students pay their utility bill or rent or even fix a problem with their car they needed to get to work or classes.
“This is a labor of intense and intentional love,” Dr. Clark said. “It is all about our students.”
The resource center will not just offer food – some of which is provided by the college’s culinary department – and finances, but also nutritional counseling, mental health and social work services, emotional health and spiritual counseling, immigration counseling, technology support and Chromebook loans.
The Career Clothing Closet provides students with business attire and accessories donated by Lord Abbett, a 92-year-old asset management company located in Jersey City, that will allow students to dress for interviews and jobs.
The center also serves as a centralized network that links students to child and held care services, transportation, healthcare, employment assistant, tax and other services.
This “Single Stop” aspect is funded in part by a $850,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase to fund the HCCC “Gateway to Innovation” initiative.