Press Releases

New Independent Living Program for 18-21 Year-Old Classified Students

The ESCNJ’s Pathways to Adult Living (PAL) program is designed to strengthen independent living skills for 18-21 year-old special needs students. Credits: Courtesy of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey

New Transition Program for 18-21 Year Old Classified Students

PISCATAWAY, NJ – To help fill the void many 18-21 year- old special needs students experience when their peers graduate from high school and move on to college or the working world, the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ), will start a Pathways to Adult Living (PAL) program in September 2017.

“The program is for students who have completed their high school academic requirements, yet need additional Community-based Instruction (CBI) in preparation for independent living,” said Superintendent Mark J. Finkelstein.

Sign Up for E-News

“Our Board of Directors recognized the need to offer this type of transition opportunity to the 18-21 year-old population, and were unanimous in voting to support the program,” he said.

Under the guidance of appropriately certified Structured Learning Experience (SLE) faculty, staff, and job coaches, students will begin each day at a newly built storefront on Main Street in downtown Sayreville, said Assistant Superintendent for Learning/Ed. Services Gary Molenaar.

“The students will devote some time to technology infused functional academic work, and several hours reinforcing daily living skills like cleaning, painting, changing bed sheets and preparing meals, in addition to learning how to safely use equipment like a washing machine, dryer, vacuum cleaner, microwave oven and dishwasher,” Mr. Molenaar said.

Students will participate in individual and group job sampling and internships as well, building upon the job training relationships the ESCNJ has established for over a decade with numerous employers including  Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, Marshall’s, Lowe’s,Elijah’s Promise, TJ Maxx, Burger King, and ShopRite.  Daily training in the use of public transportation like New Jersey Transit, Access Link, including Uber, and Lyft is also part of the program.

The ESCNJ will offer students and their families support when interacting with adult service providers including The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS), and the Social Security Administration.

For further information about the PAL program, please contact Mr. Molenaar at (732) 777-9848, Ext. 5010, or

The ESCNJ operates six schools with services for students ages 3-21 with autism, multiple disabilities, and at-risk behaviors, in addition to shared services to special education students statewide.  The largest Educational Services Commission in New Jersey, the ESCNJ coordinates transportation services for nearly 14,000 students in over half of New Jersey’s 21 counties, and manages a 1,100 member Co-op Pricing System, the largest cooperative buying program in the state.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - March 19, 2018


TRENTON - New Jersey, one of the only employers who pays its workers for unused sick time, and then appears mystified when it struggles to balance its budget, may finally be capping sick-leave payouts.  The proposal, obviously unpopular with labor unions, has been discussed before, but not with traction. It is back in the mix again, to cap payouts ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 16, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Another commuting mess this morning, as the antiquated Portal Bridge got stuck in the "up" position at 4:22 a.m.  That caused a bunch of rush hour trains to be cancelled between Newark and Manhattan for four hours or so.  Both NJTransit and Amtrak riders were completely screwed. You may recall the proposed Gateway ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 15, 2018


NEW BRUNSWICK - When you rent out apartments to Rutgers students, expect some surprises. But one landlord received a shocker beyond expectation: a $8,117.07 water bill for the last three months of 2017, TAPInto New Brunswick reports. The landlord went to the City Council meeting this week, pleading that the bill on his Comstock Street ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 14, 2018


TRENTON - Ever since we met Gov. Phil Murphy, he has been talking about the same stuff: higher taxes for the rich, saving NJ Transit, legalizing marijuana, giving more money to public schools and a higher minimum wage. So, when lawmakers went to Trenton yesterday to hear the rookie governor's first budget message, there weren't a lot of ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 13, 2018


TRENTON - As Gov. Phil Murphy prepares to deliver his first budget address at 2 p.m. today, at the State House, observers will be curious if his proposals jive with the state's pension mess. Look for the governor to talk about campaign topics like equal pay, health care, climate change, immigration and offshore drilling, as well as the proposed ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 12, 2018


NEW BRUNSWICK - If you want to succeed in New Jersey, you need to figure out, to some degree, what all these millennials are thinking.  New Jersey Future tried to get to the answer, during a recent day-long event in New Brunswick that NJ Spotlight covered.  Bottom line? Our millennials are fleeing and that is bad. We need them to buy ...

Rutgers Student on Front Lines of Orangutan Conservation, Research

March 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Deep in a tropical forest in Borneo 15 years ago, Rutgers student Didik Prasetyo first encountered a young male orangutan that he named “Jerry.”

The great ape was one of several orangutans that Prasetyo and other researchers followed at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station in the Mawas Conservation Area in Indonesia. Prasetyo was skeptical when colleagues said ...

RU police investigate assault on Douglass campus

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University police are investigating an aggravated assault and attempted sexual assault  reported to March 14 at 3:55 a.m. in front of Hickman Hall on the Douglass campus.


The victim, not affiliated with Rutgers University, reported that she was walking with a male whom she did not know in the area of Commercial Avenue and George ...

Rutgers voices support for proposed state budget

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University officials have often been wary of the governor's annual budget message, wondering what type of budget cuts the university may sustain and how it would potentially impact tuition and the overall quality of education.

This budget message, delivered March 13, appears to be a sigh of relief.

Pete McDonough, Vice President of External Affairs at ...

Latino, Caribbean, Hip Hop, Jazz music, even Yoga and skating, celebrated in city

March 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK – Music, cultures and lifestyles will be celebrated in the city all year, with festivals and special events scheduled for weekends from April through October, including the city’s first day to highlight yoga.

City council members this week approved permits for nine events, starting with the traditional Rutgers Day Parade on April 28, which will start on Senior Place ...


This National Literacy Month, Let's Rein In Screen Time

March 13, 2018

Dear Editor: As speech-language pathologists across New Jersey prepare to mark “National March into Literacy Month,” let’s address the alarming number of young children who spend countless hours a day on a handheld screen.

According to a study from the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, the more time that children under two years spend on smartphones, tablets and ...

New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters Clinches Gold Certification

March 16, 2018

NEWARK - The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) is proud to announce that the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters has once again received Gold Certification – awarded to the strongest chapters in the nation.

NJAHU achieved Gold Certification from national headquarters underscoring how well the organization has operated and achieved its lofty goals in the ...