A program to train New Jersey Democratic women who aspire to run for public office is about to initiate its sixth series of classes.

Emerge New Jersey Recruitment Chair Alixon Collazos said the program works to give women the tools that they need. It's part of a larger program, Emerge Amerca, which has been training Democratic women to run for office for 15 years.

The local chapter has been around since 2013.

The program give 65 hours-plus of practical training on public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, voter contact, and media messaging.

"We've had over 1000 women graduated from the program," Collazos said. "We also have a pretty great rate -- about 20 percent of the women who have gone through this program have run for office. We have some very successful stories."

New Jersey currently ranks 21st in terms of women's representation in elected position, according to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics.

Program trainers include of a team of campaign consultants, advisers and staff. Those who participate also will meet a group of women who hold elected and appointed office. And when participants graduate from the program, they become part of what the group calls a "supportive network," which includes a national association of Emerge alumnae.

Democratic women who would like to take part in Emerge New Jersey should submit short essays and their resume before the March 31 deadline.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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