Newark City of Learning Collaborative

Mahako Etta, mahako.etta@rutgers.edu 

The Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) is a new citywide postsecondary network, committed to increasing the percentage of residents with postsecondary degrees, certificates, and quality credentials from the current 17% to 25% by 2025. 

To achieve this goal, the NCLC, in collaboration with vital partners, proposes five strategies.

  1. Build awareness of the broader issue by gathering and sharing data that tracks readiness, enrollment, retention, and completion of Newark residents.
  2. Enhance and support college readiness initiatives by developing a high school to college postsecondary pipeline through alignment and collaboration with the Newark public schools and local charter schools.
  3. Increase postsecondary enrollment, retention, and completion through two- and four-year higher education institution alignments.
  4. Engage and support adult learners to degree completion.
  5. Develop financial support opportunities to assist with postsecondary attainment while developing linkages between education and future career opportunities.

To support these strategies, the city must focus on increasing college enrollment, retention, and completion rates of Newark residents; provide greater incentives to attract and retain college graduates; encourage adult learners to return to school; provide more support to traditional high school students to increase college knowledge; create scholarship opportunities to lower financial barriers to college; place greater focus on ensuring higher transfer rates from two-year to four-year schools; support data articulation agreements between the secondary and higher education institutions to better track students; and create more internship opportunities as a way to increase retention and direct students to growing career fields in the area. 

The collaborative is composed of over 60 organizations, including higher educational institutions, the City of Newark, the Newark Workforce Investment Board, the Newark Housing Authority, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, college attainment programs, and community based organizations. 

The backbone organization for the NCLC is the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies. The Cornwall Center provides a full-time project coordinator who manages the NCLC advisory board comprised of the leaders of major partner institutions, a 25 member steering committee, and four learning teams (internships and scholarships, college readiness, data and evaluation, and postsecondary/adult learners). The Cornwall Center also serves as the depository of information and data and is in the process of developing a website and communications plan for the work of the NCLC.