Creating sustainable job opportunities for adults in Newark, NJ : a workforce skills development program

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Southern New Hampshire University
Newark is New Jersey's largest city and its ills are well documented. In the inner city, poverty and crime are rampant, unemployment is high, and educational achievement levels are low. Many jobs that once existed have been outsourced, and nothing has come in to take their place. This initiative is a workforce development project. It is a joint effort between various community groups and a local Laborers union and its training fund. The community groups conducted the initial screening while the union will conducted final interviews and selection according to the criteria for union membership. The most important initial outcomes were that community members became aware of the opportunity, that contractors were signed on by the union, and that trainees became union members and ultimately obtain stable employment. It is believed that this would eventually improve the economic and social conditions of the community as a whole. Thus far, only one training class has been held in Newark, and 22 trainees have joined the new Laborers Local #55. More than 50 area contractors have been signed, and several members have gone to work. The initiative has been a moderate success thus far, in terms of the number of city residents trained and working. It is a success in terms of training graduates who actually became union members (100%), and has been repeated in a number of different communities. It is recommended that the project be continued. (Author abstract)