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i Pallone Secures $100,000 for Expansion of UCCs College for Teens Program in Plainfield

January 23, 2004
Press Release

Washington, D.C. --- U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today secured $100,000 for Union County Colleges (UCC) College for Teens program, a Plainfield program providing at-risk high school students with crucial academic, technology and leadership skills to succeed in college or the workplace. The funds were included in a giant $328.1 billion spending bill passed yesterday in the U.S. Senate. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the same bill that combines seven appropriations bills into one omnibus bill funding domestic programs and foreign operations for FY 2004, which officially began on October 1, 2003. The legislation now awaits the presidents signature.

Pallone said the College for Teens program was started in Plainfield in 2001 in response to local industrys need for skilled process technicians and was designed to give its participants the skills necessary for the demands of the area workforce and to prepare them for the rigorous demands of higher education. The College for Teens is a demonstrably effective model for juvenile delinquency prevention in the Plainfield area.

The program offers teens four different educational tracks: science, computer graphics and design, technology and business. Through its intensive use of computers and technology, the College for Teens program has gone a long way towards bridging the "digital divide" in New Jersey. In addition to the normal coursework associated with their track of study, participants in College for Teens receive 36 hours of basic instruction in the computer labs located on campus, and enjoy full access to these labs while enrolled in the program.

However, the Colleges existing technology infrastructure has become somewhat cramped and overused, and UCC would like to expand and enhance its computer labs to meet the growing demand for the College for Teens program.

"This federal funding approval will allow UCC to purchase technology equipment and update its existing computer labs and smart classrooms so that more young people can participate in this critical program," Pallone said, who requested the funds last year when the initial appropriations process began.

Leadership development and mentoring are also integral parts of the College for Teens curriculum. UCC focuses on conflict-resolution, time management skills, working in teams, effective communication, diversity training and written communication skills. In addition to classroom instruction, participants visit local industry to see how the information and skills they are acquiring are applied in the workplace.