By Anna D. Banks
Today, the EOF’s Next Step Program (NSP) celebrated Six (6) semesters of making a difference. NSP is a program targeting individuals who have a history of incarceration and/or substance abuse issues. The primary goal of NSP is to assist individuals with their transition from the New Jersey Department of Corrections and/or recovery back to a productive role in their communities. Successful completion of their academic coursework and/or job placement for the participants is a primary goal for the first year of this program. NSP officially began operations September 13, 2005 when all prospective participants from various community correctional facilities were invited to ECC’s EOF Department for a planning session.
In addition to a full academic course load, the Next Step Program offers life skills workshops, seminars, academic support and counseling on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The support of the EOF Program and the resources of the Learning Center, Cooperative Education Department, Career Resource Center, Counseling Center, Training, Inc and WISE Women’s Center are integrated into NSP to address reentry issues in a holistic fashion.
The halfway houses that are participating in the Next Step Program include Logan Hall, Tully House and Kintock Group, Integrity House, CURA and Harbor House in Hoboken.
The Next Step program received funding this year from the Nicholson Foundation.