Education

Schools That Can Newark connects students with employers throughout the city

e28706e009d89da684a5_e2e1.jpg
Last week, externship hosts interviewed students during the Bridging the e2e Gap Interview and Networking Night, hosted at Newark’s Bard High School Early College. Credits: STC
a451d6d48f6952edaa14_e2e2.jpg
Schools that Can (STC) Newark has been helping Newark’s youth prepare for college and career through the Bridging the Education to Employment (e2e) Gap Program. Credits: STC
c45f2d48d5195b0ec8c6_e2e3.jpg
Fifty juniors and seniors from 10 Newark high schools are taking part in the five-month program, which began earlier this year. Credits: STC
e28706e009d89da684a5_e2e1.jpg

Newark, NJ—For the last two years, University High School senior Nasia Spencer has been attending a program designed to prepare the city's youth for college and career. She's learned how to write a resume and cover letter and had an opportunity to hone her interview skills with three different companies.

“While being in this program I gained helpful interview skills for before, during, and after the interview,” Spencer said. “I also gained insight on what is relevant to put on a resume and how to write a cover letter that relates to the position I'm interviewing for. I now feel more prepared to go into interviews.”

That's exactly the goal of the Bridging the Education to Employment (e2e) Gap Program launched in 2015 by Schools That Can Newark—a nonprofit organization that includes a national network of more than 180 district, charter and independent schools serving predominantly low-income students.

Sign Up for E-News

"There can sometimes be a real disconnect between our youth and some of the employers who work here,” said Erin Sweeney, the executive director of Schools That Can Newark. “Students look at the workers downtown, passing between various office towers and wonder what all goes on in those companies. They might not see themselves as being potential employees there or might think these jobs are only for people from out-of-town."

Through the e2e program, STC Newark secures externships representing a broad range of careers in a variety of sectors including finance, law, urban planning and nonprofit, among others.

Students are guided through the full spectrum of the hiring process—reviewing job descriptions, preparing resumes and cover letters and interviewing—then complete a one-day externship along with participating in a variety of workshops, including a full-day program at Newark-based law firm McCarter & English LLP,  where students receive one-on-one help with resumes and cover letters.

Fifty juniors and seniors from 10 Newark high schools are currently taking part in the five-month program, which began earlier this year and will be completed next month.

This year’s participating high schools include American History High School; Bard High School Early College; Cristo Rey Newark High School; Great Oaks Legacy Charter High School; Malcolm X Shabazz High School; People’s Prep Charter School; UPLIFT Academy; University High School; Weequahic High School; and West Side High School.

Last week, externship hosts interviewed students during the program's Interview and Networking Night at Newark’s Bard High School Early College, where students took part in career readiness and interview prep workshops led by volunteers from Newark-based Prudential Financial.

Sweeney said the idea for the program was generated from several high schools in the STC network who were looking for better ways to connect students with area employers and companies.

At the same time, Sweeney said many companies want to engage with high school students, to get more students on pathways into careers in their companies. But often times, the companies don't have the ability to connect with students.

"Bridging the e2e Gap is designed specifically to create that connection so that students learn about and imagine themselves in careers available here in Newark while employers get to meet Newark students and build direct relationships with local high schools,” Sweeney said.

The program now has a waiting list of schools wanting to participate.

“Students love it," Sweeney said. "They take the process very seriously and really grow throughout the program. We see students gain confidence, build their communication skills and broaden their knowledge of potential careers about which they didn't previously know. Employers love it because it allows them to share what they love with students who are hungry to learn more about what is out there. It also gives them a glimpse into the reality of how great Newark high school students are."

People’s Prep Community Charter School Program Coordinator Amy Pozmantier Eberly, one of the creators of the program, said students from the school have participated since its inception.

“Our students have been able to extern with companies and businesses that they wouldn't be exposed to through our school or internship program, as many of the businesses are outside of Newark,” Pozmantier Eberly said. “Last year, one of the companies had such a great time with one of our students that they invited him to their staff bowling event after work that day. He wouldn't stop talking about how fun that was, and he may have not realized it at the time, but he was building some great communication and networking skills by attending that event on top of the externship.”

McCarter & English, who hosted this year's e2e workshop and luncheon, first partnered with STC in 2016.

"I think it is crucial to introduce students as early as possible to the ever-evolving world of resume and interview best practices, and making it less intimidating for them," said McCarter & English Associate Meredith Walsh, who is also a member of the STC Advisory Board.

"I enjoy breaking complex concepts down and making them easily understandable, and this internship/coaching program is an effective vehicle to deliver the knowledge and experience to the students without them worrying about failure or pressure," Walsh said. "I am amazed at the dedication and professionalism of these participating students and the commitment of their teachers who work very hard to get the students through the program."

McCarter & English In-House Training Coordinator Sandra Cummins noted the success of partnership.

"It’s a lot of fun having the students visit us," Cummins said. "Many of our lawyers and other professionals come to assist the students review and edit their cover letters and resumes. Everyone really enjoys having the opportunity to work with such motivated students. It is rewarding to be able to step out of the everyday routine and spend an hour or so working with the students who are in the program. I believe they enjoy having the opportunity to take a look inside a law firm, and to work one-on-one with our professionals."

Cummins said the program has also afforded her the opportunity to directly connect with Newark residents.

"I’ve worked at the Newark office of McCarter & English for more than 25 years, and our involvement with Schools That Can has provided an opportunity for me to interact on a personal level with residents of the city in a way that I had not previously," Cummins said. "It really is a collaborative effort to which each person brings their own special skills. Our program has grown remarkably over the past three years and we look forward to continuing to offer an excellent program in coming years."

Sweeney noted the positive impact created by the partnerships.

“I know the impact lasts because every few weeks while I am out and about in Newark, I will run into a student who participated last year and they always tell me what they have been up to or how this program has helped them get a job, internship, or be more prepared for the real-world,” she said.

“It is so wonderful to see how students are not just passing through this program, but are engaged with it and how what they learn in this program sticks with them. We are already looking at ways to partner with other organizations in Newark to try to expand it even more in future years," Sweeney said. "We would love to see all Newark high school students have this opportunity so that all students are graduating with resumes, cover letters and some externship experience.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Newark

He Grew Up In James Baxter Terrace. Today, He Ushers in a Newark Condo Complex

July 19, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Hassan Keith grew up in the city’s James Baxter Terrace public housing, and now he's come back to unveil a 24-unit condominium complex on Clinton Avenue he helped build. 

Keith teamed up with the NFL's Mike Adams to form the Mid-Atlantic Investment Alliance development company along with two others. Today, they cut the ribbon on the new Lofts at ...

Market Street Patrol Building May Be Named After Late Undersheriff

June 28, 2018

NEWARK, NJ — The death of Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan on June 20 was a "devastating loss" for the department and for the county’s sheriff, Armando Fontoura.

“He was like a son to me. He was always the first one on the scene. He was always there to help. It’s just devastating. There is not much more I can say," Fontoura said in a ...

Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Opens Camp DeWitt Conference Center and Activity Building

July 2, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. – If you don’t know by now, Girl Scouts is much more than cookies, crafts, and summer camp.

In fact, the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey say they should host your next professional business conference, special event, or any other big celebration in which you are looking to seriously impress.

Look no further than Camp DeWitt in Hillsborough, the site of ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_8fd7ffdcf0e8abaaca95_lincolnpark

Fri, July 27, 10:00 AM

Lincoln Park, Newark

Lincoln Park Music Festival Sustainable Health ...

Carousel_image_705db43167d2ae62207f_arjc_2018moviesunderthestars_tap1200x800

Thu, August 16, 5:00 PM

Branch Brook Park, Newark

Movies Under the Stars

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

A Statewide Solution on Disposable Bags Aids the Fight Against Litter

June 29, 2018

The New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) just released the results of a year-long visual litter study that shows that nearly 10 percent of all litter on our roadways and highways is in the form of plastic and paper bags.

There is no doubt that these bags are of significant and ongoing environmental concern, creating an even more difficult job for our clean communities volunteers across ...