Toms River Campus Celebrates Dr. Seuss’s Birthday by Reading to Children

Read-Across-America-Day-2017 March 8, 2017, Toms River, NJ – Every year on March 2nd, The National Education Association celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday with Read Across America Day,’ an event focused on encouraging children to read. American Institute’s Toms River campus takes part by organizing a special reading event for the children of students and staff.

“As educators, we recognize that reading impacts a child’s future success by building vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension,” said Shannon Arnold, Director of Career Services. “We are proud to support this effort in our Toms River community by bringing in children to our campus for a ‘reading corner’ featuring books by Dr. Seuss.”

Families of students and staff arrive to find the campus decorated with characters and quotes from Dr. Seuss’ books, with complimentary copies of his books handed out to the first ten children to arrive, and children also enjoy coloring activities and refreshments.

This is always a fun event for the campus, because the children are so engaged,” said Ms. Arnold. “One young girl even climbed into my lap to help me tell the story!”

American Institute celebrates education at every level, and strives to create opportunities to connect with the community. Read Across America is a particularly popular event, because it allows students and faculty to share their love of reading with the next generation.

“We all grew up with Dr. Seuss,” said Campus President, Tim Rodgers. “Reading his books again is as much fun for us as it is for the children.”

Most of all, the adults enjoy watching the children respond to the stories. One young girl was so excited by the story that she jumped out of her seat and waved two balloons, while a very young baby surprised his mother by listening intently through the entire event.

“We love to get our students’ families involved in events here at the campus. The children are so excited about seeing the classrooms where their mom or dad is learning just like they do in their schools,” said Ms Arnold. “It reinforces the message that learning never has to stop, even if you’re grown!”

Clifton Students Help Keep Father English Food Pantry Well-stocked

February 17, 2017, Clifton, NJ – Bags of rice fill a box by the front door to American Institute’s Clifton campus. There is brown rice and white rice, long-grain rice and wild rice, because different people like different kinds of rice. Another month, the box was filled with different kinds of beans, all donated by students and all destined for the shelves at the Father English food pantry.

American Institute Donates to Father English Food Pantry

Assistant Campus President, Sherry L. Muse, on one of the donation drop-off days with Father English staff.

More than 1,500 families, including some American Institute students, depend on the pantry every month, says Admissions Representative Theresa (Terry) Barreto, who helps coordinate the school’s food donation effort. “It’s a critical resource for our community.”

The pantry was named for a Catholic priest who once ran bingo fundraisers at the church. He also distributed food and clothing to people in need. One night, as he was leaving the church after bingo, he was shot and killed by one of the people he’d helped earlier in the day. Since then, the community has supported the pantry to honor his dedication to service.

The Father English pantry is unusual, because it is organized like a grocery store, with each item priced in points. Patrons are given a certain number of points to “spend” based on the size of their family, and they can shop the aisles for the foods they prefer.

Everyone should have choices,” Terry says. “Some families have medical issues, or allergies. At Father English, they can choose the foods they want.”

Each month, the pantry lets Terry know what types of food they need most, and Terry tells the students. At holidays and before school lets out for summer, there are special drives to ensure the pantry is well stocked for those critical times of year. By the end of the month, the box by the front door is full again.

One of our core values at American Institute is service, and our students embrace that with their whole hearts,” says Sherry Muse, Assistant Campus President. “This is our community, and we all have something to give. Buying a few extra cans of beans to put in the box is an easy way to help make our community stronger.”

American Institute Opens New Location in Somerset, NJ

January 4, 2017, Somerset, NJ — On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, American Institute celebrated the Grand Opening of a new campus located in Somerset, NJ. The Somerset campus is the third location in New Jersey for the American Institute family of schools, and begins career training with the first classes of students in January and February.

American Institute Somerset Campus Grand Opening The Somerset County Business Partnership and Franklin Township City Council attended and participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the event. Toms River, NJ campus’ Massage Therapy Program Director, Caroline Weinerman, brought students to provide chair massages at the event, and attendees enjoyed a relaxing break during the festivities. Campus President Jamil Gilmer noted, “I love seeing students engage and interact with our community and how proud they are when they are able to practice their new skills and then are praised for doing it well. It’s why I am so passionate about what we do at American Institute; seeing people grow and learn and change in positive ways each and every day is what keeps me going. I’m proud to be bringing this opportunity to those in the Somerset county area who are looking to make a positive change in 2017.”

Chief Operating Officer, Christopher Coutts, added, “At the heart of what we do at American Institute is a passion to help people change their lives, and it’s exciting to bring that opportunity to the Somerset county area. Our graduates will be assisting our families and communities when they see the doctor, dentist, or need massage therapy or office administrative help, and we’re passionate about making sure we provide the best possible training experience we can as we help them pursue their new career so they are well prepared as they head into the field. As future employers of our students and graduates, the support from our local business community in the Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce and Somerset County Business Partnership is an important aspect of our future here in Somerset, and I’m grateful for all those who were able to join us today for our Grand Opening celebration.”

Said Chief Financial Officer, Stephen Schwartz, “We’re excited to expand our family of schools into another community in New Jersey, and we’re thankful for the support of our local community in helping us celebrate the new campus. We look forward to expanding our partnerships in the Somerset area in the months and years ahead.”

Day Care Staff Enjoy Massages from American Institute Students

December 8, 2016, Toms River, NJ – Was Santa listening in? A member of the American Institute staff happened to chat with the manager of a local day care center while supporting Santa Claus visits with chair massages at Ocean County mall. Before the event was over, Santa had granted two holiday wishes.

We’re always looking for opportunities to give back to the community and to demonstrate our students’ skills,” said Carrie Weinerman, Massage Therapy Program Director at the Toms River campus of American Institute. “And no one works harder than day care employees. So, I offered to have our students come to the day care center and give massages to the staff.”

The next week, Ms. Weinerman and her students brought their new massage therapy skills to the Learning Experience Day Care Center, where 25 employees enjoyed well-deserved chair massages.

“The students massaged all the teachers, assistants, administration – everyone that works there came in,” said Ms. Weinerman. “They were so excited and so thankful. We all loved every second of it.”


Massage Therapy Students Share Their Skills

The students also handed out business cards and circulated a sign-in sheet so the day care staff could make follow-up appointments at the American Institute student massage clinic.

It’s important for our students to see that people in many different occupations need massages,” said Ms. Weinerman. “They feel so great knowing they helped so many people, and that everyone they massaged absolutely loved it. It gives the students a lot of confidence.”

The students did such a fantastic job, in fact, that the day care manager asked if they could come back regularly. Ms. Weinerman is planning to organize monthly visits next year.

“I’m proud of our team and our students for their commitment to make a difference in our community by providing service wherever and whenever they can. It’s an important part of what makes American Institute such a great place to be, and I’m delighted to see it in action,” noted Campus President Timothy M. Rodgers.

Job Searching in Winter: 5 Tips to Stay on Track

November 14, 2016, all locations – While companies often slow down their hiring as the winter holidays approach, you can use this time to continue building momentum in your search for the right position as you head into the new year. And with the right focus, you may get a jump on companies who are staffing up to support next year’s demand.

  • 1. Revitalize your resume. Take a fresh look at this critical document, as your first impression with prospective employers. Can you strengthen your qualifications with certifications in your field or volunteer experience? Clarify your achievements? Correct any errors? Search online for examples of well-crafted resumes in your field, and see what you can do to polish your professional presentation.

  • 2. Record your success stories. Prepare for future interviews by drafting short stories (3-5 sentences) that answer common hiring questions, like “Tell us about a problem you solved successfully.” “What is your greatest personal achievement?” “Why did you decide to pursue this career?” “What strengths to you bring to this role?”

  • 3. Reach out to your network. “The best time to network is in advance of job opportunities being posted,” says Hannah Morgan of US News & World Report. The holidays are a great time to reconnect with old acquaintances and let them know you’re looking for new opportunities.

  • 4. Review your social media presence. Hiring managers often search candidates’ social media, so make sure they’ll find only positive content. Ask friends to untag inappropriate photos or posts and create/update your profile on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.

  • 5. Remember to take care of yourself. Make time for exercise, healthy food and a good night’s sleep. You can enjoy the festivities, but stay in fighting form – you’ll want to be feeling good when opportunity strikes.

Above all, remain confident. You have an excellent education and the support of your instructors and your American Institute Family. The Career Services team is here and ready to help with practice interviews, resume reviews, and networking skills, so be sure to schedule time to meet with them if you haven’t already.

American Institute Celebrates MARWeek in honor of Medical Assistants

October 24, 2016, All Locations – American Institute joined the nation again this year in celebrating the contributions and dedication of Medical Assistants during Medical Assistants Recognition Week – “MARWeek” – an annual event sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Medical Assisting students and staff at American Institute were treated to appreciation meals and a special message from their Campus Presidents.MARWeek2016

“As providers of healthcare career education, we’re close to Medical Assistants while they are training and once they go into the field, so we know just how hard they work to ensure exceptional patient care,” said Christopher Coutts, Chief Operating Officer. “It’s a challenging role, yet we see Medical Assistants provide caring smiles and good humor each day, because they love what they do and the people they help.”

“The Heart of Healthcare” is the theme of MARWeek, a reference to the critical role Medical Assistants play helping to ease anxiety and enable patients to effectively engage with their health care providers.

“Students choose Medical Assisting because they truly care and want to help people,” said Brooke Baran, Vice President of Education. “Our hands-on training program, which includes mock patient visits and role plays, prepares our students to confidently take their place on the medical team.”

Healthcare providers recognize that having skilled, caring professionals on the front lines improves the patient experience, which can contribute to better health outcomes. As a result, Medical Assisting is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations.*

“I’m personally grateful for the Medical Assistants who have assisted me and my family through some difficult moments,” said Mr. Coutts. “It’s important to recognize their contributions during MARWeek and throughout the year.”

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at

West Hartford Business Advisory Board Meeting

October 13, 2016, West Hartford, CT – Employers and program experts joined American Institute West Hartford campus staff and faculty for an evening of discussion and review last night. These local advisors and experts provide valuable insights and feedback to our programs, students, and graduates in their respective career areas, which enables continuous improvement and evolution of the programs we offer.

Kevin Zorda, Director of Education, commented: “I’m grateful for the support we receive from our community partners and the information and suggestions we gathered from this meeting. It’s a critical part of our educational process to gather this feedback and adjust where needed to ensure our students are prepared to pursue their career of choice upon graduation.”

WH_business_advisory_dinner_Oct_2016 Kim Colbert, Campus President, added, “It’s a pleasure to see our Program Directors and Career Services teams have such focused and engaging dialogue about their respective fields, and to receive this valuable feedback on our programs.”

American Institute Student Goes for the Gold at the Hartford Marathon

October 8, 2016, West Hartford, CT – It took American Institute student Ricardo Jackson a little longer than he expected to finish the 5K race at this year’s Hartford Marathon.

“I started off late and was in the back of the group. I ran faster to try and catch up, and I wore myself out,” Ricardo said. “Another runner came up along side me, and she encouraged me to keep going. She guided me on breathing and helped me to set a good pace.”

American Institute student Ricardo Jackson rings the bell to celebrate finishing his first half-marathon

American Institute student Ricardo Jackson rings the bell to celebrate finishing his first half-marathon, while Medical Assisting students provide blood pressure screenings

Boosted by his fellow runner’s support, Ricardo kept going. And going. Instead of a 5K (3.1 miles), Ricardo finished the half-marathon, running 13.1 miles in 2 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds.

“I just thought ‘This is my moment, I have to do it.’ And I went for the gold,” Ricardo said. “The woman I ran with said most people don’t complete the half-marathon on their first try. She was amazed. I was a little amazed myself.”

American Institute is a proud sponsor of the Eversource Hartford Marathon, which attracted more than 12,000 runners this year. AI medical assisting students provided blood pressure screenings during the pre-event expo and at the race, demonstrating their skills and gaining valuable experience providing hands-on care.

Ricardo is enrolled in the Computers, Networking, and Security program at the West Hartford location. He hopes to use his new skills to get a better job and eventually continue his education in audio engineering and music production.

“Once I got into class, I was transformed,” Ricardo said. “I feel great every morning, and I like the progress I’m achieving. If I can make this change, anybody can make it.”

Clifton Student Dawud Ali Receives 2016 Sharon Dutra Memorial STAR Award

September 14-15, 2016, Clifton, NJ – American Institute’s Clifton team attended the Garden State Employment and Training Association (GSETA) Conference again this year, with the special privilege of seeing massage therapy student Dawud Ali receive the 2016 Sharon Dutra Memorial STAR (Student Training Achievement Recognition) Award. GSETA 2016 STAR Award Winner As the GSETA site explains, “For the past 30 years, GSETA has acknowledged youth and adults who have achieved personal and employment goals. With the assistance of programs provided through the workforce system, honored individuals found ways to complete their education to gain sustainable employment despite the extraordinary barriers they faced. This award was renamed in 2007 to honor [a] GSETA colleague, the late Sharon Dutra, who was a Planner for the Monmouth County WIB and an advocate for those struggling to succeed.”

Chief Operating Officer, Christopher Coutts, shared, “It’s gratifying to see Dawud recognized for the outstanding student and individual he is by the GSETA team, and we’re delighted to be a partner in his education as he prepares for a career in massage therapy. As a long-standing member of the GSETA, American Institute is committed to supporting their mission to promote quality and excellence in New Jersey’s workforce, and the career training we provide helps individuals in our community like Dawud do just that.”

West Hartford Back to School Carnival & BBQ

September 1, 2016, West Hartford, CT – West Hartford students and staff defied the downpours of rain yesterday to gather donations for the homeless to support the campus’ “Backpack Give Back” drive at a Back to School Carnival and barbecue. The very bravest among them even volunteered to get ‘dunked’ for cash donations that went to purchase supplies.

West-Hartford-Back-to-School-Carnival-Sep-2016 Special thanks to Campus President Kim Colbert, Admissions Representatives Michael Cairo and Manny Rivera, and student Octavia Camby for your example and passion to support those in need! Through the help of our #AIfamily and friends, American Institute was able to provide 100 backpacks to those in need with essential items inside them like socks, toiletries, and basic first aid.

Stephen Schwartz, Chief Financial Officer, noted, “American Institute is passionate about providing tangible and engaging opportunities for students and staff to serve our local community, and I’m proud of the team in West Hartford for making a positive impact despite the rainy weather.”

Thanks also to Hot93.7 for supporting the event and encouraging donations!

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Toms River Campus Celebrates Dr. Seuss’s Birthday by Reading to Children

March 8, 2017, Toms River, NJ – Every year on March 2nd, The National Education Association celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday with ‘Read Across America Day,’ an event focused on encouraging children to read. American Institute’s Toms River campus takes part by organizing a special reading event for the children of students and staff. “As educators, […]


Clifton Students Help Keep Father English Food Pantry Well-stocked

February 17, 2017, Clifton, NJ – Bags of rice fill a box by the front door to American Institute’s Clifton campus. There is brown rice and white rice, long-grain rice and wild rice, because different people like different kinds of rice. Another month, the box was filled with different kinds of beans, all donated by […]