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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2009

ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO TO RECOGNIZE
2009 COUNTY SUMMER YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PARTICIPANTS
Essex County Workforce Investment Act Receives State Funding to Provide Valuable Job and Life Skills Training Experience to County Youth

East Orange, NJ - Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. joined with the Essex County Department of Economic Development, Training & Employment, Workforce Investment Act Program to recognize 800 young adults who have participated in one of the County's four summer youth employment programs and the local business owners who provided the work experience. The closing ceremony was held at the Essex County One-Stop Career Center in East Orange.

"Our goal is to provide our young people with valuable work experience they can utilize throughout their lives, in school and in the workforce," said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. "Our programs take our youth off the streets during the summer months and give them something constructive to do," he added.

"We had an extremely successful summer program this year," said Department of Economic Development, Training & Employment Director Anibal Ramos, Jr. "Our participants received a first-hand look at what it takes to succeed in the workforce. They also learned about County government and how our departments function," he added.

This year the County administered four programs: the Essex County Workforce Investment Act Youth In-School Program for ages 14-18, the Essex County Summer Youth Stimulus Employment Program for In-School Youth ages 14-18, Essex County Summer Youth Stimulus Employment Program for Older Youth ages 18-24 and the Summer H.E.A.T. Initiative for older youth ages 17-25. The summer programs are part of year-long employment and training programs for teenagers and young adults. They were federally funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009-Summer Youth Employment Component, through the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development and administered through the Essex County Workforce Investment Act Youth Program office. The summer youth employment programs are six to eight week programs that provide four days of work experience and one day of academic enrichment and/or work readiness training.

The Essex County Workforce Investment Act Youth In-School Program provides eligible teenagers, ages 14 to 18, with academic enrichment, life skills training, SAT preparation, and job readiness workshops. The program is open to teenagers who are classified with a learning disability, come from low-income families, or are students in the juvenile justice system.

The Essex County Summer Youth Stimulus Employment Program provided economically disadvantaged Essex County residents ages 14 to 24 with work readiness and training to prepare them for the workforce. The younger youth, ages 14 to 18, are recommended from various Essex County school districts and the older youth, ages 18 to 24, are recruited through Essex County College and the Essex County Youth Resource Center. At the end of the program, the schools are required to provide a resume and a progress report from the worksite for each student to serve as a measurement tool for work readiness success.

The Summer H.E.A.T. Initiative (Help Employ Area Teens) is part of Governor Jon Corzine's Safe Streets & Neighborhoods strategy. Essex County is one of seven counties in New Jersey funded for this program. Essex County partnered with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, East Orange Office of Employment and Training and the Newark One-Stop Career Center to engage young people, ages 17-25, in positive employment experiences during the summer months. The County's goal was to match qualifying young people in Essex County with summer jobs that help guide them towards the road to successful careers, and to provide them with skills training prior to the beginning of their employment. Essex leads the State with almost 400 employed youth.

"It has been a blessing to be able to serve so many youth this year.We have employed twice as many youth this summer as opposed to last year.It was the hard work and dedication of the staff and the partnerships established with our schools, businesses, local municipalities, State representatives and Essex County agencies that have made this such a successful summer," said Workforce Investment Act Services Manager Aminah Bey.

Summer participants are monitored throughout the school year by staff from the Essex County W.I.A. Youth Program. They work closely with participating schools to monitor their attendance, report cards and progress reports. This is just one component of the year-round program that serves teenagers from Orange, East Orange, Bloomfield, Belleville, Irvington, Montclair, and the Essex County Vocational Schools. As part of the summer employment program, participants worked at various departments throughout County government, local schools and businesses and earned $7.25 per hour for approximately 25-30 hours a week.

During the school year, participants receive mentoring and tutoring after school. County staff members also visit with the students, their parents and guidance counselors to help keep them on track. At the beginning of the summer youth employment program students also are tested to determine their academic level. Students who tested below the eighth grade level received basic skills remediation, while students testing above eighth grade level received job readiness training. They also were provided the opportunity to learn how to prepare a resume and conduct a job search.

The Essex County W.I.A Youth Program is a year-round program that serves youth ages 14-21. The in-school program provides academic remediation, life skills training, job readiness workshops, SAT preparation and work experience. The Essex County Youth Resource Center is open to older youth ages 19-21 that are eligible under W.I.A. guidelines for education and employment services. The center provides assessment and case management services including workplace readiness, employment, opportunities for academic enrichment, and leadership development skills. Youth Enrollment Certification for the programs is provided through the Essex County W.I.A. Youth Program Office at 50 S. Clinton Street in East Orange. Working papers, applications and registration forms can be obtained from the schools, under the direction of the Essex County Youth Program Office. For more information, visit us at www.essexcountynj.org or call 973-395-5828.

 
 
 
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