Union Receives Grant to Improve Economic Mobility for Adult Learners

Cranford, NJ – Union College of Union County, NJ has partnered with Jobs for the Future (JFF), Achieving the Dream (ATD), and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) to enhance the economic mobility of adult students. Nine colleges across three states are involved, including New Jersey, Michigan, and Virginia. Union will collaborate with other NJ colleges to enhance student success.

Each state will receive $200,000 for this 18 month initiative. Funding is supported by Ascendium, the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, and ECMC Foundation. The grant will support Union’s efforts to improve academic advising with an emphasis on utilization of career tools and help increase the retention rate for part-time underrepresented minority adult students. This initiative aligns with Union’s institutional priority of social justice and equity. This population is critical to achieving our state’s attainment goal of 65 percent of working age New Jerseyans having a degree or credential of value by 2025.

According to JFF, the Improving Economic Mobility for Adult Learners Initiative aims to improve postsecondary success for adult learners. This initiative was developed to further expand what states and individual institutions have already done to improve the outcomes for adult learners at two-year colleges. JFF defines adult learners as individuals who are 21+ years old and have not yet completed a postsecondary certification or degree.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to re-focus on our non-traditional students. Our non-traditional students face added challenges including additional work and family obligations, so we are committed to providing the added support these students need. We believe that working together with JFF and ATD through the Improving Economic Mobility for Adult Learners Initiative, we can refine our approaches and demonstrate progress on some key leading indicators, with a goal of closing those achievement gaps. We are grateful to JFF and ATD for their partnership in this critical endeavor not just for those individual students but for our Union County community as a whole,” stated Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

Union College of Union County, New Jersey is a public, comprehensive community college that provides quality, affordable, accessible educational programs to the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 two-year colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College offers a wide variety of academic and extracurricular activities. Union provides many experiential learning opportunities such as access to a Bloomberg Business Center, Innovation Center, and Student Research hub. Additionally, students at Union attend one of the top 25 community colleges in the country for 2023 as designated by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.