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Guadagno Announces $300,000 Training Grant to Employ Local Newark Residents at New Construction Projects

Trenton, NJ – Acting Governor Kim Guadagno today joined Labor Commissioner Harold J. Wirths, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and representatives of New Jersey’s construction and building trades to announce $300,000 in training grants to give local residents the job training and skills they need to be put on the job building redevelopment projects in the city they call home. The grants will train approximately 40 women and minority residents for apprenticeships in the building and construction trades and job placement on ongoing construction projects in Newark.


“This is a unique partnership involving the Christie Administration, the construction unions, non-profit organizations and the City of Newark to improve the employment situation and long-term earning potential of Newark residents by training them for jobs in the overall revitalization of this city,” said Acting Governor Guadagno.


The grants were announced at the $150-million Teachers Village construction project, which is a mixed-use development being built along four blocks of Halsey Street, between the Prudential Center and the University Heights section of Newark. William T. Mullen, president of the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council, and Carl Styles, president of Local 77 of the Building Laborers District Council, also attended the event.


“With significant future construction activity anticipated in Newark, these two programs will provide a pathway for city residents to enter union apprenticeship programs that are committed to placing the participants into jobs on city construction sites,” said Commissioner Wirths.


The $300,000 grant comes from the New Jersey Builders Utilization Initiative for Labor Diversity, otherwise known as NJBUILD, which is earmarked for employment programs for women and minorities. The funds, released through the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, will cover training provided by the Roofers Local #4 Apprentice Program in West Orange and the Institute for Social Justice based in Newark.


“In the midst of tough economic times, the City of Newark is advancing many transformational economic development projects that will change the Newark landscape for decades to come. The Teachers Village mixed-use residential, education, and retail project and the Panasonic of North America headquarters office tower are just two examples of Newark’s economic development success. These construction projects will require trained workers, and the need for them in Newark is greater than ever,” said Newark Mayor Cory Booker. “I am proud of how my administration has partnered with Governor Christie’s team, the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and our region’s labor unions to develop this apprenticeship program. It will ensure that Newark residents can get job training that will empower them with careers and prosperity for themselves and their families.”


The funding effort is specifically designed to increase the opportunities for local women and minorities to acquire skills, increase their employment opportunities and benefit economically from construction projects within the city of Newark. It also is designed to assist contractors and trade unions in meeting their workforce needs through the recruiting and training of qualified women and minorities.


"We are very happy to receive this grant and to partner once again with the New Jersey Labor Department," said Bill Mullen, president of the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council. "This type of program provides a greater opportunity for New Jersey citizens to succeed in the building and construction trades industry apprenticeship programs. It also ensures that employers are getting a well-trained employee."


Ray Pocino, vice president and Eastern Regional Manager of Laborers’ International Union of North America, said, “Pre-apprenticeship programs like this not only prepare men and women for career-track occupations, especially in the building trades, they also strengthen communities by opening up access to good paying jobs for local residents. We are pleased that the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice is receiving a pre-apprenticeship grant from the State of New Jersey. Indeed, several of our members and one of our Local Union Presidents--Newark resident Wayne Richardson—graduated from NJISJ pre-apprenticeship training.”


The Teachers Village construction project involves eight buildings, including three charter schools, a daycare center, approximately 200 apartments for teachers and 70,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space. It is one of several large projects under development in the city.


Significant construction activity expected in the City of Newark over the next year is why the administration of Governor Chris Christie targeted it for the grants. Pre-apprenticeship programs, which provide basic skills training, workforce readiness training and some occupational training to participants, are more successful where there is a strong commitment from the labor unions involved to place qualified graduates in apprenticeships and where there is enough demand for new construction workers.


Participants in the apprenticeship programs must be registered with the Newark One-Stop Career Center, which will assist candidates with other activities in their employment effort, including interviewing skills and career exploration.


The 10-week training will focus on basic skills instruction, workforce readiness instruction and occupation-specific, construction-related trades training. Trainees also will be assisted with job placement services targeting employment in union-sponsored, registered apprenticeship programs or quality construction jobs.


The Christie Administration has committed more than $236 million in Fiscal Year 2013 for employment training or workforce development.