brings employment skills and training to local youth while enhancing urban gateways
(Camden) – Continuing the Christie Administration’s commitment to provide young adults with work readiness and vocational skills, the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced that approximately 120 youth participated in the Summer Urban Youth Corps program at twelve locations throughout the Garden State.
Participants gained important employment skills while working to improve the appearance of urban gateways in nine counties.
“The Christie Administration helped approximately 120 young adults earn money this summer and gain valuable work experience through the Urban Youth Corps program,” Deputy Commissioner Joseph Mrozek said. “The projects that were built enhance the attractiveness of urban gateways along or near New Jersey highways.”
During a visit to the Camden project site along Route 30 (Admiral Wilson Boulevard), NJDOT Deputy Commissioner Joseph Mrozek commended all grant recipients for their efforts over the past several months under a competitive, federally funded program that is being administered by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Deputy Commissioner Mrozek also met with officials from the Camden-based non-profit organization, The Work Group, which successfully competed for grants to carry out projects in Camden and Pennsauken as well as with some of the the young adults who designed and carried out the work at the Route 30 site. Their efforts included cleaning and clearing a litter-strewn area along the heavily traveled Route 30 and building raised flower beds to create an attractive gateway to Camden.
Several of the young adults involved in the project planted trees near the flower beds during the visit. NJDOT maintenance crews are working in coordination with the beautification project team to stabilize and landscape steep terrain that slopes from the Baird Avenue overpass to Route 30.
“We are thankful to the Christie Administration for reviving this program that not only improves the appearance of urban gateways but touches the lives of young adults who have faced obstacles in finding employment or direction in life,” said The Work Group Executive Director Lori Godorov. “This relatively modest investment will pay dividends on many levels.”
Urban Youth Corps grants funded stipends for young adults and supervisors and covered equipment and supply costs. The young adults were provided an opportunity to be a part of improving their communities, received work readiness and vocational training and gained experience to put on their resumes as they seek jobs in the future.
The grant program is a perfect fit for NJDOT’s “Clean New Jersey” initiative, Mrozek said. “Well-maintained highways are an important aspect to the larger effort of attracting and retaining businesses and jobs in New Jersey,” Deputy Commissioner Mrozek said. “Under the leadership of Commissioner Jim Simpson, NJDOT launched the “Clean New Jersey” initiative in 2010 with laser-focus to improve the appearance of our highways. The Urban Youth Corps program, along with other “Clean New Jersey” components, helps promote New Jersey as a great place to live and work.”
Project locations and grantees
The Children’s Home (Mount Holly)
The Work Group – New Jersey Youth Corps of Camden (Camden)
The Work Group – New Jersey Youth Corps of Camden (Pennsauken)
Vineland African American Community Development Corp. (Vineland)
ASPIRA Inc. of NJ (Newark)
Mercer Street Friends (Trenton)
NJ Youth Corps of Middlesex County (New Brunswick)
Perth Amboy Office of Recreation (Perth Amboy)
Downtown Merchants Corp. (Passaic City)
NJ Community Development Corp. (Paterson)
Brand New Day/City of Elizabeth (Elizabeth)
New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg (Phillipsburg)
Since its launch in the summer of 2010, “Clean New Jersey” has included dozens of concentrated highway cleanup efforts by NJDOT’s workforce of nearly 500 maintenance and operations workers. During these efforts, all maintenance needs along a selected segment of highway are addressed, including litter pick-up, mowing, vegetation trimming, guiderail repair, and graffiti eradication.
Other components of the initiative include litter pick-up and grass trimming by Department of Corrections inmates and a revived Adopt-A-Highway program.