RU Ready for Work


RU Ready for Work (RUR) is a year-round, replicable career/work-readiness demonstration model designed for socio-economically challenged 10th -12th grade students. Founded on evidence based practices and periodic program assessment, RUR provides a proven effective framework that encourages persistence, academic success and graduation, and enhances educational, personal and life skills development.  It also provides students with career preparation and work readiness skills and tools, including summer career track immersion, mentors and internship experiences. All of these elements are known to influence positive youth development. Since 2011, 100% of RUR participants graduated high school and since 2013, 100% of participants earned post-secondary placements, with the preponderance enrolling in 2- and 4-year colleges/universities, significantly exceeding both state and local averages. RUR operates in partnership with the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) to increase the percentage of Newark residents with college degrees or professional credentials from 13% to 25% by 2025. By design, RUR’s three-tier model improves outcomes among at-risk or marginalized students.

RU Ready for Work Goes Virtual 2020-2021


2020-2021 Program Year Highlights

RU Ready for Work (RUR) director Roxanne Hall and instructor Halima Moore met with students from September – June virtually via Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-5:30 PM. Topics for 2020-21 included:

  • The College application process
  • Scholarships
  • Understanding financial aid award letters
  • How to navigate being a college student
  • Choosing an academic major and/or minor
  • How to manage conflicts
  • Self-care practices
  • Financial Literacy & Budgeting
  • Interviewing practices

Giving Back

RUR alumni, some of whom have graduated college, gave presentations on their college experiences, things they have learned along the way, tips, and advice on navigating the college journey.

Presentations were made by RU Ready Alumni: DeJanee Jones (2013), Salonia Burt (2014), Erica Lassiter (2018), Nehemiah Appiah-Kubi (2018), Karyn Jean-Jacques (2020), Christabel Otoo (2020), and Ayoko Kessouagni (2020).

RUR students and families received biweekly groceries at their homes through OUCP’s collaboration with the COVID-19 Emergency Response Food Distribution Effort.  The initiative in partnership with RUPD, UVSO, and CARESPARC Consulting Sustainable Health & Wellness Village. Students began receiving grocery bags on Thursday, April 30, 2020, and continued through the end of the program on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Statistical Overview

  • Students: 25
  • High Schools & Charter Schools (11)
  • Training Hours: 112

Newark High Schools 2020-2021

  • American History High School
  • Barringer High School
  • Eagle Academy for Young Men of Newark
  • Marion P. Thomas Charter School
  • North Star Academy Charter School
  • Essex County Schools of Technology-Donald M. Payne Sr. Tech Campus
  • Essex County Schools of Technology-Newark Tech Campus
  • People’s Prep Academy Charter School
  • Technology High School
  • University High School
  • West Side High School 


Congratulations RU Ready For Work

Class of 2021

Name High School
Oluwapamilerin Amuda People’s Prep
Afua Appiah Essex County Schools of Technology-Newark Tech Campus
Yaa Serwaa Baffour Awuah Technology
Fatuma Balloh American History
George Baskerville People’s Prep
Kenisha Benjamin West Side
Tamara Colon Essex County Schools of Technology-Payne Tech Campus
Genesis Davis American History
Mamemary Diane Marion P. Thomas Charter
Darius Erhunmwunsee People’s Prep
Grady Guaman American History
Qyeer Johnson Eagle Academy
Watta Kamara Marion P. Thomas Charter
Kathurna Louis-Jean American History
Imani Mustapha-Ippolito West Side
Rhodar Olajide People’s Prep
Esosa Osagie Essex County Schools of Technology-Newark Tech Campus
Gia Marie Pottinger American History
Emilio Rios People’s Prep
Jeremy Romano Barringer
Derius St. Pruex North Star Academy
Khaliyah Sellers University
Izavia Shell-Canady People’s Prep
Phyllis Tuffour University
Elijah Vauters-Rouse Eagle Academy


Post-Graduation Plans

  • College bound         22
  • Military                      1
  • Workforce                 1
  • DVR program           1


RU Ready for Work Performance Outcomes 2009-2021

RU Ready for Work (Senior Cohort)

Class   Program Outcomes Placement Outcomes
Initial Cohort Completed Program


(from intake total)

Percent Completed HS Diploma In Workforce

Post-Secondary Education/




Number Percent
2009 20 16 16 80 100 31 56 12
2010 20 20 19 100 95 10 75 15
2011 22 17 20 77 100 12 76 12
2012 19 14 191 74 100 0 86 14
2013 19 18 19 95 100 102 100 0
20143 20 20 20 100 100 0 100 0
20154 19 19 19 100 100 0 100 0
2016 19 185 19 99 100 0 100 0
2017 25 25 25 100 100 0 100 0
2018 13 13 13 100 100 0 100 0
20196 18 187 17 100 94 0 100 0
2020 13 13 13 100 100 8 92 0
2021 25 25 25 100 100 8 92 0
Totals 252 236 244 94 99 6 92 4


1 Student Completed RUR but did not receive a diploma due to a shortage of PE Credits; student enrolled in Project graduation and completed in May 2013.

2 Two students worked in Fall, 2013 but planned to attend Community College in Spring 2014.

3 The Class of 14 included two High School Valedictorians (Bard & West Side), the Salutatorian (West Side) as well as several top ten class graduates.

4 Graduating class includes a Salutatorian (Barringer) and one student enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

5 One student relocated out of state but remained connected to RUR staff.

The Class of 2019 included one Valedictorian (Barringer), one Salutatorian (West Side), as well as several top ten class graduates.

7 One student completed RUR but did not receive diploma due to shortage of credits/courses at initial high school; student later enrolled in Lawrenceville Prep school where he received his diploma in May 2020.



Summer Program Highlights

Summer Enrichment Program

The RU Ready summer enrichment component features a career immersion experience that exposes students to options in fields such as public and healthcare services, criminal justice, or brain health/psychology research.  Students explore pathways to exciting, rewarding and attainable careers via guest speakers, field excursions and interaction with local career professionals. Students’ intern at local non-profit sites allowing them to hone workplace and professional skills, obtain guidance from a mentor/ supervisor, increase social capital and, in many instances, support work that benefits their community. Broadening social/cultural awareness is another hallmark of the summer experience. From participating in global teleconferences with students in Africa to trips to live performances, Broadway plays and historical museums, student discover how they connect to the world beyond their city’s boarders.


2021 Summer Program Highlights

  • CKO Newark-Kickboxing class
  • Glass Roots
  • Virtual Painting
  • Yoga, Meditation, and Self-Care
Luncheon Speaker Series

The RU Ready For Work Summer Program Luncheon Speaker Series provides an enriching opportunity for program participants to engage directly with university- and community-based professionals about various topics related to college and career preparation. This component of the summer program serves to reinforce concepts that participants learn and discuss in instructional workshops by exposing them to real world experts who share knowledge and experience in key competency areas that can lead to college and career success.


Through the Luncheon Speaker Series, participants have met and interacted with university officials, municipal leaders, entrepreneurs, healthcare practitioners, and nonprofit executives, as well as Rutgers-Newark students who impart valuable insights into the rigors and rewards of the college experience. Topics of discussion have included leadership, economic and community development, mentoring, goal setting, time management, and college admissions and financial aid processes. Ultimately, the Luncheon Speaker Series introduces RU Ready for Work participants to the idea that “doing lunch” with knowledgeable mentors and peers can lead to many valuable career and educational networking opportunities.

Summer 2020 Speakers

    • Dr. Michael Dillard, School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) 
    • Mr. Kevin Silvestrini-Cordero, CareSparc Consulting Inc. 
    • Dr. Terri Lassiter, Rutgers School of Public Health 
    • Mr. Kendall St. Ange, TRC Companies 
    • Mrs. Lori Scott Pickens, Center for Law and Justice; Ms. Kelly Mulligan-Brown, Newark Community Solutions; Divad Sanders, School of Criminal Justice
Community Service

The RU Ready for Work program encourages students to be proactive citizens. During the summer, it partners with various local non-profit organizations to provide an opportunity for students to “give back” to their community. Some of the community service opportunities have been provided by:


  1. Essex County Division of Senior Services
  2. Goodwill Rescue Mission
  3. St. Ann’s Soup Kitchen
  4. Greater Newark Conservancy
  5. Freedom Ministries, Inc.
  6. Community Food Bank of New Jersey
  7. MedShare
RU Fit Day
The RU Ready for Work Program strives to help its participants make healthy choices in all areas of their lives. “RU Fit Day” is an annual fitness program conducted at Rutgers-Newark every summer in an effort to showcase the benefits of healthy living. Through Newark Community Health Centers, Rutgers-Newark’s College of Nursing, Student Health Organization and a group of dedicated Rutgers individuals, the students are treated to a day of exercise, health screenings, and informative as well as interactive presentations.
Academic Excursions

Each summer the RU Ready for Work Program adopts a socially relevant theme that is then integrated into the entire summer enrichment curriculum, including field trips that are carefully chosen. The theme for the summer of 2013 was, Entrepreneurship: Building a New Economy in Our Community.  Students went to Motown (The Musical) which demonstrated the significance of branding as an integral aspect of running a successful business or organization, as well as the many challenges to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

For 2017 the theme was Newark Through the Lens of History and Culture. In addition to excursions to local sites and art exhibits, students visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture where they gained a broader understanding of the historical context and cultural evolution of African Americans who had migrated to Newark. While there, they viewed a display on Baxter Terrace, which had been a landmark housing structure in Newark built before WWII.


The Public/Healthcare Services Track field trip to the Newark Liberty Airport- Quarantine Station field trip, introduced students to new career opportunities. Students had an opportunity to speak with various staff members regarding healthcare, level of education, and experience needed in order to pursue careers in this field. They discovered non-traditional careers in the healthcare industry that they never may have considered.


RU Ready For Work: About Us
RU Ready for work 2020 Graduates

RU Ready For Work 2016 GRADUATES
RU Ready For Work FILM

RU Ready For Work Programs
RU Ready In the NEWS: NJ Spot Light
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RU Ready: Robeson Meeting
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RU Ready In the NEWS: Diverse Issues
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Learn more about RU Ready for Work

 For more information
contact Roxanne Hall, Director or (973) 353-1630