Menendez, Booker, Norcross, Redd Applaud $2M Grant to Help Camden Youth Prepare for, Find, Keep Jobs

Menendez, Booker, Norcross, Redd Applaud $2M Grant to Help Camden Youth Prepare for, Find, Keep Jobs

NEWARK, NJ – U.S. Senators BobMenendez and Cory Booker, Representative Donald Norcross and Camden Mayor Dana Redd today applauded nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to fund a demonstration project focused on providing young people in Camden with occupational and basic skills training, financial literacy and career awareness as well as links to real work experiences.

“Far too many young people in Camden are at risk of being left behind because they don’t have the tools necessary to compete in the new economy --- and we have to change that,” said Sen. Menendez. “I’m pleased this investment will be focused on providing Camden’s youth with the skills, training and real-world understanding and connections they need to find not only jobs, but long term career opportunities.”

“This is another great win for the City of Camden,” said Sen. Booker. “The funds from this grant will go a long way to expand opportunity for young people in a world that has never been smaller or more competitive. Directing funding to programs such as CamdenCorpsPlus is an effective investment in our nation’s greatest national resource: our youth.”

“I often say the best social program in the world is a job, and these Federal resources will help connect young adults in Camden with the new job opportunities that are already growing the city and the region,” said Rep. Norcross. “As President Obama highlighted during his visit to the city last month, government at all levels, businesses, and countless community partners are all working together to connect residents with employment and equip them with the tools they need to succeed. As always I encourage residents to call the city’s Opportunity Linkline, 866-TRN-4JBS, to take advantage of these great opportunities.”

“It’s so important that we ensure Camden residents have access to employment, particularly the young people as they must remain a priority," said Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd. "The youth of Camden are at a significant disadvantage. I commend the U.S. Department of Labor, Secretary Perez and the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the award and for committing to Camden. This is extremely encouraging, after the recent announcement of the Promise Zone designation. It falls right in line with many of the goals outlined as a part of that designation. I think initiatives like this will help prepare youth to not only get a job but maintain that employment and be successful.”

The U.S. Department of Labor is making $1,994,350 available to the state of New Jersey to fund a demonstration project for youth in the city of Camden. This grant, administered by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, will fund the CamdenCorpsPlus initiative to provide intensive services to prepare young people for a variety of employment opportunities. The program will integrate occupational training with literacy/basic skills training; incorporate work readiness, financial literacy and career awareness training; and facilitate three types of work experiences: community service, job sampling, and internships.

The Camden area has demonstrated an extraordinary and compelling need for targeted assistance – including high unemployment, high crime rates, and low graduation rates. The grant will serve youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 29 who have been disconnected from the labor force – meaning that they are both not enrolled in school and not currently working.

The demonstration project funded by this grant will test new strategies that build on existing best practices for preparing youth to succeed at work, including career education and preparation, summer programs, and comprehensive and integrated career pathway models that align education and training programs to enable participants to earn industry-recognized credentials and find good jobs. In addition, participants will receive meaningful work experiences to ensure they are ready to work and have the skills needed to be successful in the workplace.

This award to Camden is one of six similar grants, totaling $22 million, awarded to cities with high poverty and unemployment rates. Funding for these grants is made possible through the department's Dislocated Worker National Reserve Account. This account is primarily used for National Emergency Grants to address significant worker dislocation events such as plant closings or natural disasters. However, up to 10 percent of the account can be used for demonstration projects, such as this Camden demonstration project.