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I AM Leadership Program

Posted on Mar 9, 2017 in Philanthropy

During the Month of January a strategic partnership emerged between the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ), Petrucci Family Foundation (PFF), and the School Board of Irvington New Jersey to launch the “I AM Leadership Program” for 45 junior level high school students from the Irvington, New Jersey School District. Guidance counselors, school administrators, and teachers selected these students because each has exhibited strong leadership traits.

Over the next 7 months, this select group of students will participate in a series of rigorous modules designed to expose them to leadership techniques, career opportunities, and role playing of case studies that challenge their abilities while laying the foundation for their future success post high school graduation.

The opportunity for these Irvington High School juniors to participate in this leadership program was made possible through the generosity of the Petrucci Family Foundation, an organization that has made similar investments in the community prior to this current program.

“The AACCNJ are honored to have been chosen to partner with the Petrucci Family Foundation in this venture in Irvington, we view this as a transformative opportunity which will contribute to a continuing positive trajectory for these talented young people”, says John E. Harmon, Sr., Founder, President/CEO, AACCNJ.

As part of the efforts to help the diverse student Communities; including economically disadvantage youth, the AACCNJ established partnerships with multiple industry clusters including educational institutions and businesses, to improve student academic awareness and success, job training, and career development opportunities.

“Our involvement with the Irvington School District began in 2004, and we are thrilled to be partnering with AACCNJ to launch the “I AM Leadership Program”, explains Jim Petrucci, Founder and President of Petrucci Family Foundation. “We are honored to be part of a program that will enhance academic success and prepare these talented young people for future leadership roles”.

“I am so appreciative of Jim Petrucci, Founder and President of Petrucci Family Foundation for his 13 year journey with the Irvington Public Schools. He is helping us to achieve our goal of preparing each and every student for career and college readiness. The AACCNJ has launched an amazing program in Irvington. Our students are receiving hands-on/minds-on learning experiences in preparation for their post-secondary education”. Dr. Neely Hackett, Superintendent, Irvington Public Schools.

The AACCNJ performs an essential role in the economic viability of New Jersey. While providing a platform for New Jersey’s African American business leaders, to speak with a collective voice, the AACCNJ advocates and promotes economic diversity fostering a climate of business growth through major initiatives centering on education and public policy. The Chamber serves as a proactive advocacy group with a 501(c) 3 tax exemption, which is shared by the National Black Chamber of Commerce.


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