NJIT Continuing Education Program Receives $2.8 Million Grant

NEWARK, Feb. 21- A $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor is funding "Bridging the Gap," a two-year continuing education program at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, which prepares women, minorities and people with disabilities for jobs in information technology throughout New Jersey.

"The curriculum reflects the demands in the industry for Internet and technology specialists who can design, implement, and manage complex Internet web sites and applications," says Gale Tenen Spak, associate vice president, continuing and distance education.

The program includes an 18-week training course and eight weeks of paid internship. Depending on choice and personal situation, students can study in computer classrooms in Newark or online from their homes using computers and Internet access which the university is furnishing. The first group of 16 classroom-based students will complete their studies on June 22. By the conclusion of grant funding in 2003, more than 370 students will be trained. At least three-quarters of the graduates are expected to obtain jobs with average salaries from $27,000 to $32,500.

Bridging the Gap resembles a similar effort which Spak and others at NJIT
participated in since 1998 called Pass It On. "Pass It On was a real door-opener for me. It
gave me a strong foundation in all aspects of computers and the chance to speak to technology experts on the Business Advisory Council," says Michael Morris, Hoboken. Morris owns DMG Technologies, a home-based, Web hosting business enterprise. His company is a member of the Business Advisory Council, part of New Jersey Technology Council. The council includes 35 information technology companies.

At WePlayIt.com, an Internet startup in Mount Laurel, Erwin Racimo, Mount Laurel, is director of operations. "The most important aspect to the training program was the networking with companies in the IT field," said Racimo. Weekly presentations by council members were invaluable to his future career success and internships improved his networking and database management skills, he adds.

The two-year grant is a partnership formed by the New Jersey Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) of Newark, Union, and Morris/Sussex/Warren counties with the NJIT Division of Continuing Professional Education; Community Options, Inc. Morristown; and the New Jersey Technology Council, Mount Laurel.


NJIT is a public research university enrolling over 8,200 bachelor's, master's and doctoral students in 80 degree programs through its five colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, the School of Management and the Albert Dorman Honors College. Research initiatives include manufacturing, microelectronics, multimedia, transportation, computer science, solar astrophysics, environmental engineering and science, and architecture and building science. According to Yahoo! Internet Life magazine rankings, NJIT has been America's most wired public university for three consecutive years.

Contact Information: Sheryl Weinstein
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Michael Olohan
Office of Communications,
(973) 596-5203