In addition to providing affordable post-secondary education that leads to nationally recognized credentials, New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI) also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center (FOC), which helps educate students in the area of financial literacy. Students learn about credit, budgeting and saving and are provided with tools to help them improve their financial situation.
So far in 2020, the FOC helped 80 clients achieve credit score increases and assisted with over 40 job placements, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
“NCCTI’s work extends beyond providing quality training services and connecting students to good careers. It also entails sharing valuable tools and educational services to help them make wise financial decisions,” said NCCTI Director Rodney Brutton.
Kaitlin Brant is one graduate who benefited from NCCTI’s offerings. She enrolled in the Patient Care Technician program, which she completed in 2019, and took advantage of the financial education the FOC provides.
Financial Coach Tamara Brown gave a presentation in Brant’s class about what credit is and how to boost your score. During the presentation, Brown mentioned the LISC Twin Accounts, which is a credit-building tool for low- to moderate-income individuals. Participants receive a $300 loan which is put in a locked savings account until the loan is paid off. Participants must make 12 on-time monthly payments, which are matched, so at the end of the 12-month period, they have a total of $600 and an increased credit score since they have a year’s worth of on-time payments.
Brant was eligible for the LISC Twin Accounts and successfully participated in the program. She has seen her credit score increase with her participation and also from paying off her student loans.
“I was able to boost my credit from fair to good. And this is starting off with me not even knowing what credit was,” Brant said.
In addition to the LISC Twin Accounts, Brown offers other tools to her FOC clients. She holds educational workshops, which are now virtual because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She shares resources about how to dispute incorrect information on credit reports and talks with clients about their financial goals and how to achieve them. The FOC also helps with job placement so clients can obtain higher-paying positions.
After graduating from NCCTI, Brant was hired at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson as a Patient Care Assistant. She was previously working at Checkers Restaurant and received a significant hourly wage increase when she switched jobs. That along with an increased credit score helped Brant to move to a nicer apartment.
“Kaitlin was steadfast in her commitment to improve her credit. Her hard work paid off when she was able to access better housing,” Brown said. “Kaitlin is a pleasure to work with and the skills she learned will continue to open doors for her in the future.”
NCCTI also provides the Bridges to Career Opportunities program with support from LISC, which includes a period of “contextualized bridge training.” The instruction focuses on industry-relevant material to teach and reinforce academic skills in a way that more readily prepares students for their future careers. Brant and her classmates participated in the program by learning computer skills specifically for health care workers.
Brant is grateful for everything she has learned from NCCTI.
“The knowledge that Ms. Tamara gave us, teaching us about credit and financial literacy, plus the education that the school provided for us, that together is enough to help us thrive and move up another step within the world,” she said.
Brant plans to share the knowledge she has learned with others, including her young daughter.
“I have a lot of friends who really don’t understand credit because they don’t really teach it in school,” she said. “With the knowledge that I have, I just want to move forward with it, learn more about it and spread it to anybody who doesn’t know about it.”
In addition to the FOC, Brant also utilized the services of the Family Resource Success Center while enrolled at NCCTI, including free tax preparation and other benefits that she was eligible for.
“The school helped in every way possible and I really appreciate them for that,” Brant said. “I would really urge and suggest students take advantage of the opportunities.”
Brant recommends NCCTI, saying the programs are short-term, graduates often launch a successful career and students can improve their financial standing.
“Kaitlin is one of many who benefited from our Financial Opportunity Center,” Brutton said. “We thank our funding partners: Greater Newark LISC local office, LISC national office, Citi Foundation and Capital One Bank. NCC’s success is directly related to their confidence in our work.”
NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business and Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.