Choose New Jersey, a company whose stated mission is “to encourage and nurture economic growth throughout New Jersey, with a focus on our urban centers” today launched a scholarship and internship program to recognize top students in Newark who choose to attend an institute of higher learning in their home state.
The pilot program for Smart Students Choose New Jersey will reward the highest academically ranked graduating senior at each of Newark’s 33 public, private and charter high schools who choose to attend a New Jersey college or university. The program will offer a one-time scholarship of $2,000 and a paid summer internship opportunity each year over three years. The program was launched today at the headquarters of its Newark lead corporate sponsor, Audible, Inc.
A subsidiary of Amazon.com, Audible is the world’s largest producer and seller of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content.
“The Choose New Jersey scholarship program will support our efforts to create improved college and career opportunities for Newark’s future leaders and innovators,” said Christopher Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools.
The pilot program is being launched in response to statistics showing that annually, nearly 35,000 of New Jersey’s high school graduates leave New Jersey for their college education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In addition, research shows that students offered paid internships had the highest job offer rate post-graduation.
“Access to top talent is critical to our businesses and the economic vitality of the City of Newark,” said Mayor Ras Baraka. “The Smart Students program is a win/win for our City. It will give Newark’s high achieving students the opportunity to build successful careers close to home, and will help ensure our companies have access to top talent in the future,” he continued.
Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G, and chairman of Choose New Jersey, echoed the programs benefits to area companies. “New Jersey’s highly educated workforce is one of its competitive advantages” he said. “We need to do everything we can to encourage our best and brightest to stay.”
Smart Students Choose New Jersey will offer students the opportunity to work at top businesses and organizations from around the state, including Fortune 500 companies, labor organizations, and small businesses that range across a variety of industries and sectors. The internships will be offered for three consecutive summers, after students’ freshman, sophomore, and junior years. The students will have the choice of remaining at the same company for all three years, or working at three different companies each summer.
The program will be implemented and managed by the Choose New Jersey staff, and lessons learned in this first pilot year will be applied to subsequent cohorts. The program, open to public, parochial and charter schools, will also be offered in the 11 eligible schools in tCamden. The program’s 44 scholars will be announced in June 2016.
For more information about the Smart Students Choose New Jersey scholarship and internship program, visit www.choosenj.com/smart.