October 6, 2020


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Newark, NJ-October 6, 2020- Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that Newark has joined a new peer-learning cohort led by the National League of Cities (NLC) to remove barriers to basic needs that often prevent college students from successfully completing postsecondary degrees, certificates or other credentials needed to gain access to rewarding careers. Newark joins 12 other cities from across the nation to engage in monthly peer-to-peer virtual learning opportunities and receive tailored technical assistance from NLC’s staff and national content experts to help advance the city’s efforts in supporting local students.

“In today’s economy, a high school diploma is not enough to achieve prosperity and success,” Mayor Baraka said. “Postsecondary education is absolutely necessary for our youth to gain job and career opportunities that will provide them with the tools to achieve financial independence and personal prosperity. We look forward to working with the National League of Cities to remove the road blocks to success for our students and give them a chance to achieve their full potential.”

Newark is a city with more than 35,000 postsecondary students. The challenge of meeting the basic needs of this college-going population has been exacerbated by COVID-19. The City of Newark, Rutgers University-Newark, and Essex County College have identified the digital divide, i.e. lack of adequate digital access, as an urgent need among the college-going population. While much focus has been on the K-12 education space, Newark’s participation with the National League of Cities as a Community of Practice will support our focus on postsecondary digital access. Next steps include the invitation to NJIT, Berkeley College, and Pillar College to join the effort. The Newark team will work to support a solution-driven framework to address the mitigation of the digital divide through a collective lens.

A postsecondary credential leading to career pathways that pay a living wage is essential in today’s economy. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found in 2016 that Americans with some type of postsecondary credential earn 25% more on average over their lifetimes than those with only a high school degree or less. Moreover, individuals with some college education captured all but 100,000 of the 11.6 million net new jobs created during the 2010-2016 economic recovery.

“As high levels of educational attainment are directly linked to a city’s economic vitality and well-being, there is a great incentive for municipal leaders to support and promote postsecondary credential attainment,” said Audrey Hutchinson, Director of Education and Expanded Learning at the National League of Cities. “The National League of Cities is proud to work with the City of Newark in addressing the basic needs of postsecondary students in Newark.”

This cohort program began in September 2020 through September 2021 with additional support through 2022 and is generously supported by ECMC Foundation.