BRIDGETON, N.J. — On Wednesday, Jan. 22, Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) will hold a ribbon cutting and open house at its new Alms Center Location in Bridgeton from 6 to 8 p.m. This new branch of RCSJ’s campus will provide much-needed opportunities for Cumberland County residents — especially those on the western side of the county — through a diverse lineup of classes and trainings.
The ribbon cutting and open house will be open to the public and visitors will be able to tour the facility and learn about the programming that will be offered there, as well as speak to RCSJ administration and staff and learn about the college’s future plans for the city. This expansion into Bridgeton will bolster RCSJ’s workforce development services through a variety of programs, including:
• Adult Education – High School Equivalency prep
• HiSet testing – for NJ high school diploma
• Career Training programs: Healthcare and Advanced Manufacturing
• New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) courses for businesses: soft skills training, supervisory, management, leadership, and Microsoft Office skills
• Cumberland Hospitality Industry program
• Displaced Homemaker workshops
• Apprenticeship information and recruitment sessions
• Networking events
The establishment of a branch of Rowan College within the Alms Center has been made possible by a generous gift from local realtor Bob Thompson, whose donation will allow RCSJ to operate this new location within Bridgeton.
This is not the first time Thompson has put money toward a project with the goal of bettering the city of Bridgeton — back in 2012 he was instrumental in funding the high school’s impressive new football stadium. In an interview last week, he explained why he’s invested portions of his wealth in the city.
“I’ve always thought Bridgeton would come back. It’s taken longer than I thought, [but] Bridgeton’s got so much going for it,” Thompson said. “Just like Glassboro […] what’s going on up there can happen down here.”
Another figure working tirelessly to improve outcomes for children and families in Bridgeton is Melissa Helmbrecht, the Executive Director at Give Something Back, a nonprofit founded by Robert O. Carr which has awarded 60 full-ride scholarships to Bridgeton High School students since 2016 — and she is also the founder of Hopeloft in downtown Bridgeton.
“As we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, I can think of no better way for our community to continue the work of social justice than to open a branch of Rowan College in the heart of Bridgeton, a city teeming with young people and families who will lead our community into the next decade. A college in a city with a 3.2% college attainment rate epitomizes Dr. King’s call-to-action that ‘I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be,'” said Helmbrecht.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to those whose pioneering leadership and behind-the-scenes work made this possible including Robert O. Carr, Dr. Fred Keating, Jason Redd, and of course, Pastor Albert Morgan and Mayor Albert Kelly. A special thanks to Bob Thompson whose astounding generosity tipped the scales and made it financially feasible to house the college in our great city,” Helmbrecht said.
The Alms Center is located at 1 Martin Luther King Jr Way in Bridgeton. For more information on Rowan College of South Jersey’s Workforce Development programs, call (856) 776-2372.