New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI) celebrated the accomplishments of its students at a graduation ceremony Aug. 28. Family members and friends of the graduating students gathered at St. Joseph Plaza to recognize their achievements.
“It is always a good day when we can send our well trained and credentialed graduates out into the working world,” said New Community CEO Richard Rohrman. “Congratulations to the graduates and thank you to the dedicated staff that made it possible.”
New Community Board President Dr. A. Zachary Yamba spoke at the ceremony, thanking NCCTI staff members for their work helping students to succeed. He then addressed the graduates.
“This is just the beginning. Learning is a lifelong experience. I challenge you to grow in your professions,” he said. “Those of us who will be in need of your services will be expecting nothing but 100 percent quality work. And I know you will do that.”
NCCTI Director Rodney Brutton explained that the graduation isn’t the most important part of the student’s journey.
“We’re very proud of our graduates but in the words of our late great leader, Monsignor Linder, the most important thing that we really acknowledge and welcome is the number of students who actually get jobs,” he said. “We celebrate the employment and connection to employers.”
NCCTI alumna Jessica Jackson, who graduated from the Patient Care Technician program in 2018, shared words of encouragement to the graduates. She currently works at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and enjoys her position. She said she knows the hard work it took the graduates to get to where they are.
“It was a tough six months. I was juggling three jobs, two kids and continued to run a nonprofit organization that I started in 2016. There were many times I wanted to give up, but thanks to New Community’s amazing professors and administration and countless hours of studying, I finally made it,” Jackson said.
Culinary Arts Graduate Paula Moore, who was offered a job at New Community Extended Care Facility three months into the program, told her classmates they will have many opportunities going forward.
“This is only the beginning. It doesn’t end here,” she said. “All I can say to everybody is take advantage of this experience and make the best of it. Just know that once one door opens, it allows you an abundance of opportunities.”
NCCTI recognized two employer partners during the graduation: Sansone Auto Group and University Hospital. Both organizations hire NCCTI graduates.
Rich Liebler, Chief Administrative Officer and Veterans Coordinator for Sansone Auto Group, helped start the Automotive Technician program 23 years ago.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to help out down here is that I didn’t want individuals to just get a job. What I wanted to do was to help them develop careers,” Liebler said. “An automotive technician has the potential in five years to make over $75,000 a year.”
Barbara Karpinska, Vice President for Ambulatory Care Services of Rutgers Health Group at University Hospital, explained that she worked to change the organization’s job descriptions so recent graduates could be hired.
“Working with hospital leadership, we were able to make changes so that we still required the educational certificates, but no longer the experience. And therefore we were able to open the door to new graduates,” she said.
Newark Deputy Mayor of Employment Rahaman Muhammad served as the keynote speaker of the event. He is a lifelong Newark resident and in his current role he refers individuals to NCCTI for training. He said while many come to his office in search of a job, he tries to convince them to further their education to start a career instead. He congratulated NCCTI for not only helping students graduate, but for also helping them find employment in their field.
He said that no matter the circumstances, people can achieve.
“What our first chapter is is not how our last chapter has to end. We can change it if we want to change it,” Muhammad said. “But you’ve got to take that opportunity.”
NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business and Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information and to apply, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.