By Sue Henderson, Ph.D., President, NJCU

According to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), outmigration is a growing problem in New Jersey. Each year, New Jersey loses over 50,000 adults, aged 18-34, as they seek higher education and livelihoods out of state. More than 500,000 millennials have left the state in the past ten years. The massive “brain drain” is having a debilitating effect on New Jersey’s workforce and economy.

The solution to this exodus may be a greater emphasis on civic engagement.

The New Jersey Campus Compact (NJCC) is a higher education presidents coalition that promotes civic engagement as a priority for higher education and for society. NJCC enacts its mission by providing opportunities for students attending college in New Jersey to be actively engaged civically, socially, and financially in the wider community. NJCC member initiatives assist students in forging lasting relationships with institutions and individuals who provide mentorship, which leads to job opportunities following graduation. Done well, civic engagement develops outstanding 21 century workplace skills in students.

Hart Research Associates, a strategic and public opinion research firm, reports that most of today’s employers want applied skills and real-world team experiences, such as interdisciplinary, community-based projects. Based on Campus Compact’s survey in New Jersey on member service, the average number of community-based learning courses on each campus is 73. The average number of students attending these courses is 1,103. That is a remarkable number of people forging the local commitments, networks, and skills necessary for today’s employment opportunities. New Jersey businesses need to tap into this pool of engaged, young professionals. Students and employers could learn much from one another about the utility of these emerging skills.

Businesses want employees who can thrive. The Pew Trust, in a vast longitudinal study, found that employees who are more civically engaged in their communities and who have participated in similar programs as college students are more likely to thrive in the workforce.

The opportunities NJCC and its member institutions provide for engaging in experiential learning can serve as a highly effective tool for keeping talented students in New Jersey and creating pathways to meaningful, local employment. In other words, civic engagement is good for the economy, the community, the job market, and the state. NJCU

Spring/Summer 2017 NJCU Magazine is published twice annually by New Jersey City University’s Division of University Advancement.

Sue Henderson, Ph.D.
President Sherrie A. Madia, Ph.D. Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Mike Allegra

Greg Mursko, Imagemark

Copy Editor
Meg Nugent Dwyer

Jim Broderick • Marie Caniglia-Robiolio
Audrey Fisch • Paul Gargiulo
Terry Kamps • Lawrence Ladutke
Dan Loh • Melissa Lombardi
Jane McClellan • Collin Officer
Tami Pearson • Ella Rue • Wanda Rutledge
Ira Thor • Ellen Wayman-Gordon
Bill Wittkop

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