"The underrepresentation of African-American and high-need students in STEM professions has a detrimental impact on their long-term earning potential and on the financial status of their communities," Tresmaine Grimes, Bloomfield's Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, said in a statement.
"The new PBI grant will allow Bloomfield College to expand services that help improve the academic success, retention and graduation rates of students who are interested in pursuing STEM careers."
In addition to programs for current BC students, the grant will also fund college preparatory programs for area eighth grade and high school students, school officials said. Among the programs planned include a STEM summer experience for local charter school students, and peer mentorship programs through Bloomfield's biology classes.
Of Bloomfield's approximately 2,000 students, about 52 percent are African American, school officials said. A large chunk of the grant money will also be used to fund initiatives like a STEM career awareness program for current students.
In a statement, Menendez called the grant a way of "investing in the future."
The funding, he said, "will allow Bloomfield College to open more doors for more diverse students to come to this campus and innovate, create, design, build, and be on the cutting-edge of historic technological advances that may change how we live and how we communicate."