Contact: Kelly Vence


Public Information Office



ELIZABETH, NJ—February 23, 2012— Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, in collaboration with the Morris Avenue Merchant Association, Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce and Union County College, is sponsoring  an English as a Second Language training program within the City of Elizabeth. Creating a forum where residents could learn a new language and hone skills was originally proposed by Mary Arias, President of the Morris Avenue Merchant Association, and is now being offered in coordination with a state-wide initiative.

“Providing the vital resources that enable residents to broaden personal and professional horizons is imperative to growth and development,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage “From improving workforce efficiency to creating new opportunities within our business districts, these classes will enhance our status as a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

Through the grant-funded New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) project, employees are trained on-site at a participating business facility or at Union County College’s Elizabeth or Cranford campuses. In addition to English as a Second Language, training is also available in Computer Applications, Communications as well as Mathematics and Measurement. Designed to simplify training for businesses in New Jersey, this program is now in its fifth year of operation.

In an effort to improve growth potential and communication proficiency for Hispanic workers, more than twelve employers in the Morris Avenue District have enrolled in the ESL program. Their participation demonstrates an exceptional example of their commitment to developing the skills of their employees and improving their business efficiently.

“The English as a Second Language program with the Morris Avenue Merchant’s Association is an example of how we can collaborate with small businesses to provide the tools they need to grow and prosper in our communities,” said Lisa Raudelunas Hiscano, Director of Industry-Business Institute at Union County College.

The Morris Avenue Revitalization Plan, which was created in November 2010, outlines recommendations that would enable Kean University and Morris Avenue to be successfully linked and transformed into the proposed University Boulevard. This initiative would promote business, increase resources, advance innovation and support economic development, encouraging University growth and increasing opportunities for all residents.

Upon completion, University Boulevard project will include shops, places to eat as well as faculty and graduate student housing, all centered around enhancing the collegiate experience. Through the cultivation of abilities, these partners are creating a strong foundation for workforce development and fostering overall growth within the State’s fourth largest municipality.

For more information, please call Phyllis Reich at 908-820-4037.