CONTACT: Catherine Felegi | | 908-578-8500

Data Snapshot Reveal Pandemic’s Effect on Newark’s Youth in Learning, Employment Prospects

NEWARK, NJ - Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) released its second report in a two-part snapshot series, Newark Kids Count Data Snapshot: The Impact of COVID-19. The report analyzes how the city’s children and families are faring since the pandemic’s onset. In the second snapshot, College Students and COVID-19, data show how the pandemic has affected young people in Newark and their future educational and financial prospects.

ACNJ will also present data from the report on Wednesday, June 24th, 9:30 AM. This virtual event features a panel discussion with young adults impacted by the pandemic, as well as a panel of individuals engaged in the Newark public school system.

Read the report.
Register for the event.

Alana Vega, ACNJ Kids Count Coordinator, will review the data from the snapshot at Thursday’s event, followed by two engaging panels:

Educator Panel:
Moderator: Bianka Douglas, ACNJ Board of Trustees
Robert Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Newark Opportunity Youth Network
Roger León, Superintendent, Newark Public Schools
Sheronia Rogers, Asst. Dean of the Center for PreCollege Programs, Rutgers-Newark 

Youth Panel:
Moderator: Kaleena Berryman, Director, Abbott Leadership Institute, Rutgers-Newark
Tatiana Arce-Rodrigues, 2019 graduate
David Daughety, 2020 graduate
Halimah Herbert, 2020 graduate

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children all over the globe, young adults entering college and the workforce continue to face unique obstacles,” explains Cecilia Zalkind, president and CEO of ACNJ. “Ceremonies and events that are iconic of entering these new stages of life - prom, graduation, even the simple act of sitting in a college classroom for the first time - have been disrupted. During a listening session run by ACNJ, in partnership with the Abbott Leadership Institute and Center for PreCollege Programs at Rutgers University-Newark, young people in Newark raised that the pandemic even affected whether or not they would enter college or immediately venture into the workforce.”

Consistent with national data trends, young adults reported feelings of anxiety and hopelessness as they navigated the pandemic. District-wide, college enrollment is down compared to previous years. In Fall 2019, 51.5 percent of Newark Public Schools high school graduates enrolled in either a two-year or four-year institution, compared to 42.7 percent the following year. For different demographic groups, these trends were also present. White, Hispanic and Black or African American students all saw declines in postsecondary enrollment, with fall 2020 rates at 48.1 percent, 41.7 percent and 41.4 percent respectively.

“Colleges and Newark high schools worked hard to fill the gaps for these students to ensure they had the chance for the best possible future appropriate for them,” states Alana Vega, ACNJ Kids Count Coordinator. “But COVID-19’s impact that created feelings of isolation among young adults persisted. We hope that by releasing this report, we will help to elevate their experiences and their ideas on how best to address the needs of recent graduates whose education has been impacted by the pandemic.”

Those interested can find out more information and register for the event at

About Advocates for Children of New Jersey

Advocates for Children of New Jersey is the trusted, independent voice putting children’s needs first for more than 40 years. Our work results in better laws and policies, more effective funding and stronger services for children and families. And it means that more children are given the chance to grow up safe, healthy, and educated. For more information, visit Follow ACNJ on Twitter at and on Facebook at 


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