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Rutgers University, Newark, Will Honor First ‘Graduates’ of SOAR Workforce Program on May 13

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WHO:  Graduates of the first cohort from the workforce program known as SOAR (Study, Opportunity, Aspiration, Rutgers-Newark).  The graduates are each receiving a Certificate in Application & Software Development. Also attending are Chancellor Steven J. Diner, Rutgers University in Newark; Gary Roth, Vice Chancellor for Academic Programs and Services, Rutgers, Newark; instructors from Rutgers and from Workforce Outsource Services; representatives from corporate partners including Medco and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey; and guests of the graduates.

WHAT: A reception and ceremony honoring the first 18 students to complete the 16-month SOAR program, which provides education, training, and job placement services in the technology field for high school or GED graduates in the Newark area.

WHEN/ WHERE: Wednesday, May 13, 6 p.m., the University Club, Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Rutgers University, Newark.

BACKGROUND:  In early 2008 SOAR — an innovative workforce development program that targets high school or GED graduates in New Jersey’s urban areas – accepted its first cohort of students. These students were sponsored for an intensive series of professional courses, career advising, mentoring, and job-placement services, all based at Rutgers in Newark, ultimately securing employment with the program’s corporate sponsors. The program is a strategic alliance between Rutgers and Workforce Outsource Services (WOS), a not-for-profit, outsource technology firm. (See below for detailed desription.)

MEDIA CONTACT: Carla Capizzi , Communications Office; PROGRAM INFORMATION: Carmen Pardo, 973/353-5113, Office of Summer and Winter Sessions.

Study, Opportunity, Aspiration, Rutgers-Newark (SOAR)

SOAR is an innovative workforce development program that targets high school or GED graduates in New Jersey’s urban areas. SOAR benefits from a strategic alliance with Workforce Outsource Services (WOS), a not-for-profit, outsource technology firm that invests in social ventures to build employee competency and worker pools in the high-tech community.

At no cost to those accepted into the program, the SOAR partnership offers local residents an intensive series of professional courses, career advising, mentoring, and ultimately assistance securing full-time employment in the IT field.  SOAR bridges the digital divide with long-term academic, social, and professional support, targeting populations traditionally underrepresented in the high-technology industry, building their skill sets, and enlarging the local pool of qualified technology workers.

SOAR immerses students in real-world practice and philosophy early in the program, emphasizing the development of effective communications and long-term working relationships, resulting in accomplished professionals delivering valuable results to the community.

Students in the program attend an intensive 16-month program at Rutgers-Newark, where they receive the skills necessary to work and succeed in a corporate environment.  They complete the program with a Certificate in Application & Software Development, which provides both technical and cognitive skills.

In the second term of their study, students are placed in paying positions with key New Jersey corporate partners, such as Prudential, Medco, and Horizon, who have community-related initiatives and responsibilities.  The program provides education, training, job placement, and “ladders of ascent” to the New Jersey residents accepted into SOAR.  Additionally, by fulfilling a corporate IT need locally and domestically, the partnership competes to keep outsourced jobs here in New Jersey to be filled by New Jersey residents traditionally underrepresented in the high-tech industry.