The lives of 15 young adults have been transformed, thanks to the New Jersey Youth Corps at Project Self-Sufficiency. The program’s second class graduated recently, with several students electing to continue their education while others are now ready to join the workforce. The New Jersey Youth Corps offers young adults, ages 16 – 25, the opportunity to augment their literacy skills, prepare for the high school equivalency exam, obtain on-the-job work experience, and transition into a career, college or the military. Participants must be Sussex or Warren County residents, aged 16 – 25, who have not completed high school. The 16-week program operates multiple times a year; the next cycle launches on July 10th.
“This innovative program offers young adults who might not have been successful in a traditional high school setting the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, get on-the-job training and receive essential support as they enter the next stage in their life,” explains Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “We are proud to have been able to support these individuals as they move on to college, a career or military service.”
In addition to classroom instruction, New Jersey Youth Corps participants take their learning on the road to wildlife preserves, social service agencies, state parks and other institutions where they assist with work projects and other tasks. “I was a stereotypical high school drop-out: I was doing nothing, I had no job. All I did was play video games and eat,” explains New Jersey Youth Corps graduate John Hild, 20. “When I learned about this program, it gave me hope.”
Current New Jersey Youth Corps graduates include Kenneth Bender, Alyssa Cassidy, Sapphire Delgado, Casie Dolan, Sonia Encarnacion, John Hild, Christian Ingham, Alexa Justino, Matt Karmiol, Maximillian Kuru, Matthew Madera, Kayla Simpson, Rebecca Suk, Zach Van Ness, and Julia Vealey. Commemorative photos, along with caps and gowns, were provided by Project Self-Sufficiency Board member Kathy Esposito and Legacy Studios.
The next cycle of the New Jersey Youth Corps cycle will launch on July 11th. Project Self-Sufficiency is offering a $100 gift card to those who refer young adults, ages 16 – 25, to the 16-week program. To receive the gift card, referred individuals must enroll in the program, complete the two-week orientation and be inducted into the program. The curriculum includes assessments, testing, employability skills training, life skills workshops, academic instruction, community service projects, field trips, and counseling services. Program participants will prepare for the high school equivalency examination, and receive a stipend of $100 per week, based on attendance for the full week. Free transportation is provided. Childcare is also provided free of charge at the Little Sprouts Early Learning Center.
The New Jersey Youth Corps, which is funded by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, is also in operation at sites around the state, including Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson, Phillipsburg, Pleasantville, Trenton and Vineland. Those who are interested in learning more about the New Jersey Youth Corps at Project Self-Sufficiency are encouraged to call 973-940-3510. To register for the New Jersey Youth Corps at Project Self-Sufficiency, or to find out more about other programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.