The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) launched the #STEPUP20 scholarship program, which provides financial assistance to students who rely on a summer job or internship to help pay for college.

Since COVID-19 has impacted almost every job and employer in the state of New Jersey, the AACCNJ (with the help of a $10,000 donation from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ) is looking to recruit about 20 corporate partners to fund a $100,000 scholarship program. The initiative will help impacted youth replace lost summer income so that they can continue their education.

“For students from traditionally underserved communities, college can be a critical path to economic and social empowerment,” said John E. Harmon, Sr. AACCNJ’s Founder, President, and CEO. “While many benefit from financial aid or scholarships that cover much of the cost of college, the reality for most is that those programs typically require a student to contribute something toward the total cost and many count on a summer job or internship to earn that money.”

In order to properly help the youth of New Jersey, the AACCNJ’s scholarship program will offer grants of up to $2,000 dollars to students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Interested students can apply through the application found at https://app.pedul.com. Pedul is an online platform that was created by two alumni of Rutgers University, it allows students to apply for thousands of local and national scholarships with one single application.

Harmon stated that the AACCNJ was extremely excited about this opportunity to work with amazing young leaders in order to make the scholarship program a success. He went on to say that the scholarships will provide students with unrestricted resources to cover their share of costs while continuing to invest in their futures.

“The connection between education and health has been clearly established and we know that people with college degrees have fewer chronic health conditions and are generally healthier than those who do not,” said Jonathan Pearson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for everyone, and it remains our priority to be there for our members and our home state when they need us most.”

For more information on how you can apply for the #STEPUP20 scholarships please visit the link above, or visit the AACCNJ’s website at https://www.aaccnj.com.