ECC Opens Its Doors to East Orange Teens

ECC President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye

Dr. Leigh Bello talks about student services

SWEP participants

SWEP participants touring campus

More than 100 East Orange teens learned what opportunities are available with a college education following a visit to Essex County College. The high school students who visited ECC on Thursday, July 13, are all participants in the East Orange Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP).

“When you start your higher education at Essex County College, you can finish your first two years of college with no student debt. That’s very important. This is a big opportunity for you; the door is open for you to become our future leaders,” said ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.  

The teens learned about ECC’s academic and student support, student life and activities offerings, and what financial aid is available to them. They toured the Newark campus with stops in the Information Commons, Center for Technology, Nursing Simulation Lab, Dasher Student Center, Training, Inc., and the Cleo Hill Sr. Physical Education Building.

There are 500 teens, ages 14 to 18, participating in SWEP this summer. They are working at such locations as East Orange City Hall, East Orange Fire Department and private businesses, said LaDonna Johns, Manager of the East Orange Office of Employment & Training. She said SWEP is an initiative of East Orange Mayor Ted R. Green and the East Orange City Council.

“It’s important for our young people to have the opportunity to visit a campus and to see firsthand what a college looks like,” said Ms. Johns.

Dr. Jamila Davis, who facilitated the students’ visit, said, “Coming to a college campus can be life changing. It’s a chance for them to see what’s available, attainable and affordable. I hope after today that some of the youngsters make Essex County College their home,” she said. Dr. Davis is founder of the educational organization “Be the Changemakers.”

Dr. Davis was joined at ECC by attorney Angelo Pinto, also from “Be the Changemakers.” He said the goal of the visit was to provide the SWEP participants access to affordable higher education.