NJ LEEP, Audible team up for hands-on training program for Newark students

NJ LEEP, a college access and success program serving the greater Newark area, and audio entertainment company Audible have launched an initiative that offers on-the-job training for Newark students in middle school, high school and college, they announced Friday.

“Through educational workshops and mentoring opportunities like these, Audible continues to invest in Newark’s future leaders,” Aisha Glover, its vice president of urban innovation, said in a prepared statement. “Creating an equitable playing field is a shared goal of Audible and NJ LEEP, and we are very excited to welcome participating students to Audible.”

Phase one of the program, which began this summer, involves students who have graduated from NJ LEEP’s high school college-bound program being paired with Audible employees according to their career interests and college majors.

In the next phase, in the fall, Audible will run a workshop for NJ LEEP middle school students to help build their critical thinking skills and explore career paths for them. Then, in the summer of 2022, Audible will host NJ LEEP high school sophomores for a virtual week-on-the-job program, in which they will meet with employees to learn about careers and more.

“This program has helped me explore my future dreams,” Jennifer Ortiz, an NJ LEEP summer intern, said in a statement. “My Audible mentor has helped me visualize my career trajectory and provided me with advice and guidance, which has been tremendously helpful, as I have just recently switched majors.”

The program is the latest step in the relationship between NJ LEEP and Audible, which have previously collaborated on career fairs, STEM field trips and mentorships, among other initiatives.

“Working with my Audible mentor has helped me immensely, since she’s actually lived through the academic journey that I am currently on,” Jadsika Sivaranshan, another intern, said in a statement. “My favorite part is having unfiltered communication. When we first met, I was somewhat unsure about my choice for a major. She shared her own experiences as a biology major and inspired me to believe that I can be a successful biology or neuroscience major.”

Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon, is based in Newark. NJ LEEP is serving approximately 365 students and more than 300 family members in the greater Newark area for the 2021-22 academic year.