Jesse G. Jackson, executive director of the Consortium for Pre-College in Greater Newark, hosted by New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), received a New Jersey Minority Achievers Award from the Plainfield-Area YMCA and the Metuchen-Edison-Woodbridge YMCAs.
Carol Anderson-Lewis, senior program director for the Plainfield-Area YMCA, said Jackson received the award for his work in educating school children from the Newark area.
“I’m deeply honored to have been chosen for this award and being thought of as having a significant impact on the lives of young people,” said Jackson, of East Orange. The Consortium is collaboration among three local school districts: East Orange, Irvington and Newark, and three universities: NJIT, Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
The Consortium, funded by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, provides educational programs to students in seventh through twelfth grade. The students are often low-income minorities and the first of their generation to attend college. The Consortium focuses on pre-college preparation and students in the programs are taught mathematics, science, English, computer literacy and technology. During Jackson’s tenure, some 500 students in the programs have graduated from high school with more than 80 percent of them attending college.
As the executive director of The Consortium, Jackson directs several educational programs from his NJIT office. One program offers 20 week-long classes in which NJIT students work as teachers aides and tutors at Eastside High School and the Hawkins Middle School, both in Newark. He also runs two after-school programs – at Ridge Street Middle School, Newark, and at Barringer High School, Newark – where NJIT students tutor students in math, science and language arts.
He directs two Saturday programs in which middle and high school students from the Newark area take classes in math, science and language arts, with NJIT students serving as tutors. Altogether, 15 NJIT students work in these programs through an institutional work-study program. A second Saturday program, English as a Second Language (ESL) Upward Bound, helps ESL students learn math, science and language arts. Jackson also runs a six-week summer program at NJIT that offers two classes: a summer engineering program that introduces seventh and eighth graders to concepts of engineering, and a financial-investment program, run by the School of Management at NJIT, that teaches juniors and seniors the fundamentals of finance and business.
Theodore Johnson, PhD, vice president of human resources at NJIT and member of the commission who nominated Jackson for the award, said that each year he nominates an NJIT professor or staff member who has made “an outstanding contribution to the community.”
“Dr. Jackson’s programs,” Johnson said, “have had a huge and positive impact on students in Newark and the surrounding communities. He’s devoted his life to helping the students who need the most help, and for that he is to be commended.”
Jackson received a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University and a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from Rutgers University. He is a former member of the East Orange Board of Education, and he volunteers to help families secure financial aid for college for their children. He also does volunteer work with the Newark courts to help reduce truancy in the Newark Public Schools. While a student at Rowan University, Jackson worked with the International Council of Churches to improve the plight of migrant farm workers in New Jersey.
Jackson has received many awards, including The Financial Aid Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey Association of Financial Aid Administrators; The Paul Robeson Outstanding Administrator Award from the Paul Robeson Culture Center, New Brunswick; a certificate of appreciation from the Hispanics for Progress of Essex County; and resolutions commending his education services from the New Jersey Assembly, New Jersey Senate and the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.