Acclaimed Activist/Writer Kevin Powell Joins Newark Orgs to Help HS Students Create Blueprint for Success

Writer @Kevin_Powell will provide the keynote address at a high school student symposium expected to draw 200 students and parents. 2014 Blueprint for Success: Preparing for College, Work & Beyond is a collaboration between The North Jersey Chapter of The Links, Incorporated; United Way of Essex and West Hudson (@UnitedWayEWH), and Rutgers University-Newark (@Rutgers_Newark). The free event is Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Paul Robeson Student Center at Rutgers University- Newark and is open to high school students in grades 9-12 and parents.

Kevin Powell, who is also an internationally acclaimed activist and speaker, will address students and parents from greater Essex County as part of the ongoing work to demystify the college admission and financial aid processes, decrease the high school dropout rate, and expand post-secondary options. A Jersey City native, Powell is the author of 11 books and has also traveled the world speaking at academic institutions such as Stanford University, New York Institute of Technology, and American University in Nigeria.

“Going back to New Jersey to speak in front of students who are just like I was, is a great opportunity for me to empower them to create the life and career they want for themselves,” explained Powell. “Too often, students underestimate the value of their own minds , while the adults and educators in their lives fail to stress the importance of being a lifelong learner, whether or not you’re in the formal education system.”

The schedule for the day also includes workshops led by Bowie State University (@BowieState) professor, Dr. Granville M. Sawyer, Jr.; NJ LEEP Executive Director, Matthew Feinstein; New Jersey Author, Natasha Scott (@collegeadmbible), and others. Attendees will engage with a variety of education professionals, college recruiters, as well as representatives from the Armed Forces and technical schools.

“We have secured renowned experts and speakers to ensure students and parents who attend have an experience that is informational and inspirational,” explained Robyn Pitts, Program Director for 2014 Blueprint to Success. “Students need to know that whether they choose to go on to college, the military, or right to work they must obtain some form of post-secondary training or education to achieve success.”

According to a 2012 survey of 4,000 hiring managers, conducted by Achieve and the Society for Human Resource Management, 32% acknowledge that they “always” or “most of the time” hire employees with educational credentials above a high school diploma for jobs that — as posted — require only a high school diploma, with another 53% saying they do so “some of the time.”
Although The North Jersey Chapter of The Links, Inc., the United Way and Rutgers-Newark all work to further education initiatives throughout Essex county, this event marks the first time the three entities have collaborated to produce an event focused on providing comprehensive support for students and parents.

“Partnering with The Links and Rutgers made perfect sense because transforming the educational landscape in our community is a huge undertaking, one that can only be achieved through true collaboration and strategic partnerships,” said Catherine Wilson, Senior Director of Community Impact and Strategy at United Way of Essex and West Hudson. “Events like this move us closer to our 10-Year education goal of cutting the number of high school dropouts in half and increasing the high school graduation rate to 87%.”

Research shows that nationally, high school grads who don't obtain additional education or training face mostly dead-end career prospects . Regardless of the pathway students choose following their graduation from high school, 2014 Blueprint for Success will provide information, resources, and tools so that they can begin to develop their plan for successfully transitioning to their next stage.

About The North Jersey Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
Founded in 1946, The Links Incorporated is a premier international service organization with more than 12,000 members in 281 Chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The professional women of the North Jersey Chapter of The Links have been serving Essex County with innovative and multifaceted programs since 1949. The key programming initiatives of the Links, Incorporated are organized into facets: Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, and Health and Human Services. For more information please access our website at

About United Way of Essex and West Hudson
Founded in 1923, United Way of Essex and West Hudson is a non-profit organization that seeks to address the root causes of community concerns by aligning resources to best meet the needs of individuals, children and families through its service area annually. We serve a population of nearly 700,000 in thirteen communities in Essex and Hudson County. For more information about or how to get involved, visit our website

About Rutgers University-Newark
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey-Newark is a public institution with roots that date back to 1908. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 7,756, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 38 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Rutgers University-Newark's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 142. Its in-state tuition and fees are $12,998 (2013-14); out-of-state tuition and fees are $27,022 (2013-14). Rutgers University-Newark also has a variety of degree programs for graduate students through the Graduate School, Business School, the School of Law, and the highly ranked School of Criminal Justice. In the U.S. News & World Report, Rutgers is the most diverse national university campus in the nation.