Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility

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About the Institute

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The mission of the Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility is to increase the economic mobility of college students by sponsoring initiatives that champion international education and economic & community development programs. The Guarini Institute at NJCU was officially launched on November 18, 2020, with a virtual ribbon-cutting event attended by special guests and dignitaries from across the world. The institute was made possible by a $5 million gift in May 2020 from long-time NJCU donor, Congressman Frank J. Guarini.

“Education is the most important word in our language, in any language. It’s how we create leaders, grow our economy, and learn about other people, which nurtures peace. Education is the key to a better world,”

Congressman Frank Guarini

In February 2021, Dr. Adrian Franco, a former officer, and director at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, began his role as inaugural executive director and manager of the $5 million gift. NJCU President Sue Henderson said: “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Adrian Franco to our institution in this exciting new capacity. Dr. Franco’s experience in education, development, leadership, and his past executive roles in his native Mexico make him uniquely qualified to build our shared vision to make NJCU the statewide leader in enhancing business, culture, and citizenry.”

Since then, the Institute has been renamed the Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility to reflect the Institute’s mission and measurable goals and respond to the challenges that have emerged in higher education and Jersey City due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about Guarini and his gift.


NJCU and the Guarini Institute partner with the Consulate General of Mexico in New York to strengthen the economic relationship between New Jersey and Mexico.


This partnership will foster participation in the business accelerator Acelera Nueva Jersey among Mexican firms, encourage academic exchanges between Mexican universities and NJCU, and expand community outreach to Mexican and Mexican-American families.


A signing of an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will take place on October 13.


Why Economic Mobility Matters More After COVID-19

Economic mobility is the ability of individuals to improve their economic lot in life through diligent work, education, and perseverance. Or in other words, it measures the opportunity for children born in poverty to achieve “The American Dream.” A higher level of economic mobility usually indicates better equality of opportunities, life satisfaction, and social welfare, thus can be an engine of economic growth.

Higher education is widely viewed as a pathway for the younger generation to climb the ladder of income. But school closures and distance learning are particularly influencing and challenging children from already disadvantaged backgrounds. The recession and uncertain future may discourage them from pursuing further education and are likely to hurt young people starting out in the labor market. Widening educational and economic inequalities will increase the divide in life chances between rich and poor.

If an educator can have an impact on a child’s life, the effort of an academic institution could change the economic mobility outcomes. The ways we live, think, teach, and learn are experiencing dramatic changes now, which introduces challenges to everyone. The good thing is the barrier to economic mobility is not insurmountable. We look forward to uniting with all relevant parties to support our students and our community, and to contribute energy and faith.