Around NJ News Roundup: Level 3, Lightpath, Choose New Jersey, AT&T

Photo: Michele Brown heads Choose New Jersey Photo Credit: Courtesy Choose New Jersey

Michele Brown heads Choose New Jersey | Courtesy Choose New Jersey

Level 3: Level 3 Communications (Broomfield, Colo.) announced that it had completed work on its 49-mile network expansion in northern New Jersey, which it considers to be a high-tech center for innovation in the region. The network expansion provides customers with secure access to Level 3’s enhanced network capabilities and portfolio of data, security, video, voice and unified-communications solutions. It builds on Level 3’s existing network in New Jersey, strengthening route diversity for business continuity and increasing capacity for streamlining operations, the company said in a statement.

Lightpath: Lightpath (Jericho, N.Y.), which provides Ethernet-based communication solutions for businesses in the New York metropolitan area, announced that during 2015 it had connected more than 65 New Jersey schools to its 100 percent fiber network through its participation in a purchasing cooperative created by the New Jersey Department of Education’s Digital Readiness for Learning and Assessment Project (DRLAP).

Lightpath is one of just seven service providers selected by the cooperative to sell broadband services to K-12 schools in New Jersey, and it has connected more than 40 percent of the schools participating in the program, according to the New Jersey Department of Education. The purchasing cooperative is administered by the Middlesex Regional Educational Services Commission (MRESC).

Choose New Jersey Smart Students Program: Choose New Jersey has launched a pilot internship and scholarship program known as “Smart Students Choose New Jersey.” The program will reward the highest academically ranked graduating senior at each of the 44 public, private and charter high schools in the cities of Newark and Camden who choose to attend a New Jersey college or university.  The program will offer a one-time scholarship of $2,000 and a paid internship opportunity over three consecutive summers (after the freshman, sophomore, and junior years).

The program is being offered because nearly 35,000 New Jersey high school graduates leave the state every year for their college education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In addition, a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that students who participated in paid internships had the highest job-offer rate after graduation, with 56.5 percent of them receiving offers.

Smart Students Choose New Jersey is unique because it offers the opportunity for students to work at top businesses and organizations around the state, from Fortune 500 companies to labor organizations to small businesses, in a wide variety of sectors and industries.  The students will have a choice of remaining at the same company for all three years or working at a different company each summer. The program will be implemented and managed by the Choose New Jersey staff. 

AT&T: AT&T contributed more than $500,000 to organizations across New Jersey as part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature philanthropy initiative to promote student success in school and beyond, the company said in a statement. “We know that when we invest in the education of our children, we are investing in the future of New Jersey,” said J. Michael Schweder, president, AT&T Mid-Atlantic. “To stay competitive, we must have a strong and well-educated workforce in New Jersey.  AT&T Aspire is one way we support community-based organizations that inspire students and prepare them for bright futures.”

Many of the AT&T-supported programs focused on strengthening STEM skills, Schweder said.  He added that AT&T and its employees have a tradition of giving back to the communities in which they live and work.  In 2015, students from across New Jersey participated in Aspire Mentoring Academy events at AT&T offices and other locations throughout the state, including Bedminster, Paramus, Newark, East Orange, Piscataway, Middletown, Union, Somerset, Carteret, Edison and Englewood. During these events, students made the connection between what they learn in school and the skills that are necessary in today’s workplace, he said.

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