State Senator Barbara Buono says she’s begun accepting applications for the fourth class of her Young Women’s Leadership Program. The idea behind the program is to encourage the next generation of New Jersey women to participate in politics and public service.

Buono explains, “One of the most rewarding things I get to do as a Senator is to encourage young people, especially young women, to become more involved in government and politics. New Jersey has taken significant strides in increasing the number of women that hold elected office in our state, but we still have a way to go. Part of that journey includes mentoring young women to realize that running for office is a very laudable and crucial career choice.”

The extracurricular series in politics and government is available to young women that are high school juniors and seniors in Edison and East Brunswick. The goal is to engage high school girls in the political process, encouraging them to become involved in politics and one day pursue elected or appointed office.

The Young Women’s Leadership Program includes a series of three events where the participants will shadow Buono as well as an orientation session with the Senator and her staff and a luncheon at the end of the program. Participants will travel to the State House twice to attend a Senate voting session and a committee hearing. The final event will be held outside of the State House to allow students to experience Buono’s responsibilities as an elected official outside of her role as a policymaker.

“Women make up more than half of the population, yet are only a quarter of the state Legislature and unrepresented in our Congressional delegation,” explains Buono. “I hope that the young women who take part in the program will be inspired to reverse this trend and create a government that is more reflective of the people of New Jersey.”

The program is scheduled to begin in October 2012 and end in December 2012. Young women interested in taking part must submit an application, cover letter and resume by September 21, 2012.

The application may be obtained through the participating high schools or by contacting Buono’s office at (732) 205-1372 or