Salem County School-to-Careers Initiative

An Effective Practice


Salem County, New Jersey is the smallest county in the state, and has the lowest median income of any New Jersey county. It has a high dropout rate and a higher than average rate of persons with disabilities. Like many rural counties, it has limited work opportunities for young people, and unemployment and underemployment in Salem County are higher than the New Jersey average most years.

The Salem County School-to-Careers Initiative is a two-year program that serves youth ages 16 through 25 who lack a high school diploma. The program combines academic and vocational instruction and includes a heavy emphasis on workplace learning. During the school year, students attend their home high school or the adult high school in the morning. Three afternoons per week students attend the local community college, taking courses related to career interests. The other two afternoons per week and in the summer, they apply their academic learning in the workplace.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to help at-risk youth and young adults to finish high school, take college-level classes, and have structured work experiences that will lead to successful transitions to adulthood.

Results / Accomplishments

Since the Initiative's inception on September 1, 1995, 371 young people have been enrolled in the Initiative. Over 99% have successfully completed the program (including high school completion). A majority of these students have disabilities, were in the juvenile justice system, were single parents, were former drop-outs, or were from at-risk living situations.

An external evaluation by Rowan University found the program to be "effective" or "highly effective" in the following areas: Integrating academic learning experiences with work-based learning experiences; Expanding secondary and postsecondary educational linkages; Providing job opportunities; Providing opportunities for participants to give and receive feedback; Overcoming transportation problems; Helping to identify educational and career goals; Teaching academic skills related to work and careers; Helping to build self-confidence; And developing strong mentor relationships.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
H. Glen Donelson
Mid-Atlantic States Career and Education Center
30 Church Street
Pennsville, NJ 08070
(856) 540-6200 x1132
Education / Vocational & Adult Education
Economy / Employment
Education / Student Performance K-12
Pennsville School District
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
Salem County, NJ
For more details
Target Audience

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