Jobs are in demand — NJ program offers ex-cons training, skills
For decades, men and women coming out of prison in New Jersey have found it almost impossible to rejoin society in a productive way because they have not been able to find employment.
The New Jersey Reentry Corp. has just launched a program with the Department of Labor aimed at changing that.
According to former Gov. Jim McGreevey, the nonprofit's chairman, the Governor’s Reentry Training & Employment Center in Kearny will provide former inmates with specific training to get industry recognized credentials for in-demand jobs.
“What we’ve done is we’ve outlined where there are growth industries, where there are growth companies, where there are opportunities for people coming out of prison, coming out of jail, coming out of addiction treatment,” said McGreevey.
He said the program is designed to give people looking for a second chance to rejoin society the skills they need to get hired in a wide variety of fields.
“Whether it’s the construction industry, whether it’s computers, whether it’s solar or green jobs, the point is they’re developing the skills to compete in the marketplace," he said.
He noted companies want workers that can help them succeed.
“It’s not just a matter of showing up, being healthy and sober — as important as that is,” said McGreevey. “But it’s training people so that they are able to contribute to the mission of the company.”
He said when participants leave the program they can tell prospective employers “I have certification from a name-brand vendor, which is nationally recognized, that you ... require.”
The New Jersey Business and Industry Association is also helping to facilitate the program, and the newly opened facility will be able to train about 1,800 people a year.
McGreevey stressed the Reentry Corporation is about more than just getting ex-offenders a job.
“You show up on time, you show up responsibly, you’re dressed right,” he said. “You’re there to learn, to train, to gain access to the workforce.”