In effort to spur new workers, DOL awards $5.3M in grants to N.J. Youth Corps

We know the deal: If you’re a business, you are struggling to find workers. And, if you’re the parent of a teenager who has finished school, you are struggling to get them off the couch.

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development is using a decades-old program to try to help both groups.

On Wednesday, the DOL announced it has awarded $5.3 million in grants to 13 organizations to help disconnected, out-of-school youth reengage in education, training and employment through the New Jersey Youth Corps Program. The program also is open to young adults.

New Jersey Youth Corps is a legislatively mandated program that has existed for more than 35 years. The year-round, voluntary program engages young adults, ages 16 to 25, in full-time community service, training and educational activities. Guided by staff who serve as mentors and role models, teams of youth called “crews” carry out a wide range of service projects.

Three new grantees were funded in fiscal year 2022, which will expand Youth Corps services in Atlantic, Union and Essex counties, including three new partners: JEVS Human Services, United Way of Greater Union County and Leaders for Life, respectively.

Funding also has been awarded to the following longtime partners:

  • The Work Group (Camden);
  • Vineland City School District;
  • Town of Phillipsburg;
  • Project Self-Sufficiency of Sussex County;
  • New Jersey City University;
  • New Brunswick City School District;
  • Paterson City School District;
  • Atlantic County Government;
  • Interational Youth Organization (Essex);
  • Mercer County Community College.

New Jersey Youth Corps funding was made available through the state Annual Appropriations Act, Workforce Investment Opportunity Act state set-aside and a supplemental amount made available to the DOL by the Department of Human Services.

Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said the programs can have impact.

“We are proud to invest in these young workers and help foster long and sustainable career paths,” he said. “The relationships cultivated through the Youth Corps program are instrumental in helping to develop life skills, self-esteem and a career portfolio for these participants.”