Booker: A Black President ‘Doesn’t Mean We’ve Somehow Made It’

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Senators Menendez and Booker.

BLOOMFIELD – Senator Cory Booker, Senator Bob Menendez, Congressman Donald Payne and Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia announced a $3 million federal grant for Bloomfield College that would provide funding geared towards African American students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Bloomfield College is a primarily African American institution. The grant—which kicked in on October 1 and was granted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Predominantly Black Institutions program—will help the college provide programs to junior high and high school students interested in STEM to ensure college readiness skills, provide built-in tutors to young students so that they are better equipped to deal with college coursework, accelerate degree completion and provide facilities updates to the science labs on campus.

According to Booker, the grant is an important step forward in ensuring that African American students are given critical opportunities to help them as they pursue high-level, academically vigorous disciplines.

“Having a black president doesn’t mean we have somehow made it,” Booker said. “We can’t leave women and minorities on the sidelines.This funding will enhance Bloomfield’s science, technology, engineering and math instruction and research capabilities while engaging students traditionally underrepresented in these critical fields.”

According to Menenedez, the U.S. is struggling to keep up with the growing global demand for high-level STEM professionals. He believes grants like these will provide more resources.

“This is about investing in the future and providing greater opportunities form more students to learn and eventually ear, contribute to the economy, and ultimately create jobs,” Menendez said.

New Jersey is the only state besides Hawaii to ever have had two simultaneously serving minority senators. Because of that, Booker and Menendez both proclaimed that they found today’s event to be exceptionally personal and important.

“With a good education, anything is possible,” Menendez said. “The federal funding we are announcing today will help Bloomfield College to open more doors for more diverse students.”

The $3 million will be granted in $600,000 increments over the next five years.

Booker: A Black President ‘Doesn’t Mean We’ve Somehow Made It’