Servicing Others is the Best Job: Just Ask Julianne Jones

Julianne Jones worked a co-op job that helped low-income people get food stamps and computer training.

Julianne Jones, a senior majoring in Management, worked on a community service project that helped homeless and low-income people get food stamps and basic computer training.  And the work helped her refine her management and leadership skills.

Julianne is one of dozens of students who each year participate in Civic Engagement at NJIT, a program in which students can get academic credits for working internships or co-op jobs for local nonprofit groups. The Civil Engagement Program is run by Career Development Services at NJIT. 

Julianne’s work, which was considered a co-op, was a great success: For two semesters, she was the program co-coordinator for the Learning to End Hunger Program at NJIT. She managed a group of NJIT students who volunteered at two community-based agencies in Newark: the New Hope Baptist Church Soup Kitchen, where they helped people apply for food stamps under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and  the Clinton Hill Community Resource Center, where they helped people apply for food stamps and also gave them basic computer training.  Julianne  worked with officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the N.J. Department of Human Services to ensure the successful implementation of the program, according to Rosalind Newton, Director of Career Development Services.   

“During these hard economic times many families are dealing with unemployment,” says Julianne, “so it was gratifying to help people connect with food services and computer skills.  And since applying for food stamps can be a sensitive matter, I had to train the student volunteers to be sensitive and diplomatic in their dealings with the people we served.”

Despite their rigorous studies, NJIT students do a great deal of community service. Last year, NJIT students volunteered at 197 non-profit organizations for an estimated 27,500 hours of community service. That service helped place NJIT on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the third year in a row. What’s different about the Civic Engagement program is that students like Julianne can be paid and receive co-operative education credit for their service to the non-profit sector.

Katia Passerini, an Associate Professor in the School of Management, says Julianne’s good work is part of NJIT’s mission to use its technological and managements skills to serve the local community.

“Julianne assumed leadership roles in managing and training the NJIT students who volunteered at the soup kitchen and the community resource Center,” said Passerini. “She used the management skills she learned in her classes to help the people of Newark, which is great work.”

(By Robert Florida)