ELIZABETH—To help students at the nation’s largest high school, the 5,000-student Elizabeth High School, get their diplomas, Elizabethtown Gas of Berkeley Heights created a mentoring and internship program there five years ago.
This program not only shows the students how a natural gas utility is operated, but also underscores the importance of getting a high school diploma and pursuing a college degree. Over the past four years, mentors spent 2,500 volunteer hours at the school, giving college campus tours and holding an end-of-the-year class trip. They also join the students for lunch, discussing the professional skills they use and how they apply them at work, the important role education has played in their careers, and any other topic the students want to discuss.
Besides providing five annual paid summer internships that allow students to work in various departments at Elizabethtown Gas, the company has spent $20,000 to start the program and continues to provide $10,000 to keep the program going.
It’s been money well spent. In the first year alone, the number of students receiving A’s at Elizabeth High School went up 10 percent and those receiving B’s went up 100 percent. At the same time, F’s dropped by 26 percent.
For these achievements, Elizabethtown Gas on October 20 received a Public Service Award from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. Accepting the award was Tim Williams, Manager of Community Outreach.
Since 1984, NJBIA annually has honored a select group of its members with an Award for Excellence. The Awards for Excellence winners demonstrate outstanding achievements in one of four award categories: Business Expansion, Environmental Quality, Outstanding Employer, and Public Service. All 22,000 NJBIA member companies in good standing are eligible to be nominated.
The winners are selected by an independent panel of judges, who volunteer their time to conduct the judging. This year’s judging panel was comprised of individuals from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).
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