Officials from the City of Newark, Essex County freeholders, NCC, LISC and Urban League of Essex County gathered for the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

The New Community Financial Opportunity Center is officially in business.

Located at 274 South Orange Ave. in Newark, on the first floor, the Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) serves low to moderate income families in an integrated service model approach that provides (1) financial literacy, (2) access to public benefits and (3) employment services.

Top officials from New Community gathered with leaders from the partnering agencies as well as dignitaries, business leaders and elected officials to commemorate the grand opening with a program and ceremonial ribbon cutting.

“Today is an exciting day for us,” Richard Rohrman, CEO of New Community, said. “The FOC will allow us to weave existing initiatives at NCC into the FOC, reinforcing our comprehensive approach to helping people reach self-sufficiency.”

The Financial Opportunity Center model is an initiative of LISC, which has established more than 76 Financial Opportunity Centers through the method of embedding the centers in neighborhood nonprofits in disadvantaged areas across the nation. The two new FOCs in Newark—at New Community, 274 South Orange Ave., and the Urban League of Essex County, 506 Central Ave.—are principally funded by the Nicholson Foundation with additional support from the Prudential Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Capital One, Synchrony Financial and Greater Newark LISC.  The press conference highlighted the collaborative effort between New Community, Greater Newark LISC and the Urban League of Essex County to open the new FOCs. The event included remarks from officials, a tour of the FOC and related services and a reception.

Already, the FOC located inside the New Community Workforce Development Center has helped local residents like Patrick Parris. Currently employed in food service at Canterbury Village, a senior assisted living residence in West Orange, Parris, 59, said that his training at the Culinary Arts Specialist Program at NCC paved the way for his current job. Additionally, the staff at the FOC helped him prepare and file his 2015 tax return, enroll in food stamps and work to start re-establishing his credit history.

Building a secure financial future involves job training and securing employment but also knowledge of how to plan for the future, Rodney Brutton, director of Workforce Development, said.

“Now that you’re making money, how do you manage that money?” Brutton said.

Newark resident Maxwell Kukubor has met with Financial Coach Victor Silva at the FOC to start mapping out his future. At age 24, Kukubor moved to the U.S. from Ghana a few years ago and is starting to build a career in the automotive industry. After completing his course at NCC’s Automotive Training Center on West Bigelow Street, Kukubor secured a full-time job at Toyota Autoland in Springfield.

Former NCC students like Kukubor and Parris can also access the financial services provided at the New Community Federal Credit Union, which has a specific mission of serving hard to reach populations. For more information on the Financial Opportunity Center, call 973-824-6484.

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