Under the leadership of Mayor Ted R. Green and the East Orange City Council, the Department of Public Works and the Mayor's Office of Employment and Training (MOET) have launched an At-Risk Youth Workforce Training Program for East Orange residents between the ages of 18-24.
Designed to change the trajectory of young adults most susceptible to a life of crime, this program provides a six-week hands-on workforce training through a partnership with the East Orange General Laborer Training Program, local training providers and contractors.
During the program, the participants also are assessed and given workshops to hone essentials such as computer literacy, soft skills and work readiness.
Research has shown that youth without entry-level work experience and post-secondary credentials face long-lasting adverse outcomes, including lower earnings and increased risk of unemployment later in life.
The pilot program aims to identify and address the obstacles and barriers that significantly impact these young adults.
"My administration is committed to investing in our young people and giving them the resources they need to seek quality employment with competitive wages," said Mayor Green.
"Our at-risk youth are among our most vulnerable citizens who sometimes just need guidance and re-direction to help them gain experience and transferable skills as they enter the world of work."
For 20-year-old participant Jayzan Reyes, the program has given him a renewed sense of purpose.
"I've learned so much in this program, and this has been an amazing experience. I've even asked how can I get more training! And I am happy to teach what I've learned to anyone," said Reyes, who said he enjoys getting up every morning with direction, structure and a goal to continually improve both himself and his community.
"My overall energy is phenomenal. We just want to uplift each other, and that's what this is all about."
According to MOET's Workforce Developer David Sharp, the city has collaborated with a diverse group of public and private companies and industries to provide opportunities in high-demand occupations such as construction, transportation, healthcare and STEM technology.
"At-risk residents possess tremendous potential," said Sharp. "It is incumbent upon us, as a community, to proactively step up and do what we can to help these young people make better choices about their future."
For more information on this program, please contact David Sharp, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.