Tapping the talents of recent grads, new teaching program takes shape in N.J.

A new program is offering recent college grads and career changers improved science and technology training at some New Jersey high schools.

The first class of Woodrow Wilson New Jersey Teaching Fellows is ready to go.

In exchange for a $30,000 fellowship to complete a specially designed master’s degree, the 50 participants have agreed to teach for three years in New Jersey’s high need schools.

Eastampton resident Jarred Phillips, 21, recently graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biology. A sense of social justice inspired him to get into the program.

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“I love science, and I feel passionately about equality of opportunity. So I really felt the need to teach and work with people who may be disadvantaged just from birth to help give them that change that the rest of us might get,” he said during an appearance with Gov. Chris Christie at the Statehouse in Trenton.

The recent college grads and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math will be trained so they can generate the greatest possible learning outcomes for the children in their classrooms, the governor said.

“By preparing these fellows to be top-quality educators, we’ll be helping more than 15,000 students to contribute and thrive in a knowledge-based digital economy and the workforce that follows,” Christie said.

Several foundations have provided more than $11 million so five participating colleges in the state could change their teacher prep programs for the fellows.

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