A.C. awarded EnVision Center — and 300 jobs that come with it — by feds

Centers, idea of HUD Secretary Ben Carson, were created to bring economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness to underserved communities

Atlantic City's boardwalk. ­

A federal government center aimed at improving the lives of residents — and one which will immediately create 300 jobs — is coming to Atlantic City.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development designated the RX5 Cyber Center in Atlantic City as the newest EnVision Center.

According to the government, EnVision Centers — created by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson — are centralized hubs that provide residents with the resources needed to excel and access support under the following four pillars:

  • Economic empowerment;
  • Educational advancement;
  • Health and wellness;
  • Character and leadership.

The EnVision Centers initiative is premised on the notion that financial support alone is insufficient to solve the problem of poverty. Intentional and collective efforts across a diverse set of organizations are needed to empower households to self-sufficiency.

The designation came after months of assessments of local needs and services for underserved residents in Atlantic City.

Lynne Patton, the HUD Regional Administrator for New Jersey and New York, said the designation of the RX5 Cyber EnVision Center represents a huge leap toward economic opportunity for Atlantic City residents that are looking to expand skills that can empower them to financial independence.

“I look forward to working with the EnVision Center team to bring federal partners and area stakeholders that can help residents open doors towards self-sufficiency,” she said.

When it opens in November, it will be the second EnVision Center in the state. The first is located in Phillipsburg.

The driving force behind the RX5 Cyber EnVision Center in Atlantic City is James Whitehead, co-founder and president of U.S. HART, and director of RX5 Cyber Data Call Center, located at 3317 Atlantic Ave.

The location is a 2,000-square-foot office space located in an Opportunity Zone and designed as a COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures workspace. The RX5 Cyber EnVision Center will immediately create 300 new certified contact tracing jobs to collect critically important COVID-19 pandemic data.

Whitehead said the center will be a big boost for the city.

“There is a dire need for jobs and job training in Atlantic City,” he said. “The RX5 Cyber EnVision Center strategically partnered with Millennium Technologies, DELL Technologies, iAbra, Intel and CohnReznick, to provide jobs and tools that will bolster opportunities for area residents.

“These partners will also provide emergency disaster ‘prepare, respond, recover’ solutions, integrating call center data collection jobs with proven data science technologies. Congratulations, Atlantic City for taking the lead to help America heal.”

The RX5 Cyber EnVision Center also will offer workforce training, preparation for GED, youth field trips and COVID-19 emergency food distribution for unemployed residents. COVID-19 PPE distribution will be available to economically disadvantaged communities. The hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2nd Dist.) said the center is a win-win for the community.

“This program not only brings much-needed jobs, job training and economic activity to Atlantic City, it also serves as an integral solution to some of the pressing issues caused by (COVID-19),” he said.

Currently, there are 77 EnVision Centers in the United States, and over 20 are in the works. The Atlantic City site is the third in HUD Region II, which encompasses New York and New Jersey.

EnVision Centers have brought together 22 federal partners like the Department of Education and the Department of Health to assist local residents, and nine national nonprofit organizations. EnVision Center services and resources are tailored around community need.

The Atlantic City RX5 Cyber EnVision Center’s grand opening is scheduled for November 2020.