Hire Newark’s latest graduate class is ready to work

A job-readiness program in Newark, N.J. celebrates its fourth graduating class in two years, with many graduates having already secured new jobs.

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Hiring Newark's Class IV graduates celebrate at their ceremony on December 4. Photo - City of Newark via Twitter

There were tears of joy and moments of elation as the 27 graduates of Hire Newark’s Employment Ready Boot Camp celebrated their graduation on December 4.

Star-Ledger columnist Barry Carter writes about the inspiring stories of class speaker Kaiyah Taylor and others who successfully completed the job-readiness training program based in Newark. They are leaving the program prepared to step into new roles with a newfound belief in themselves. Many of them have secured new jobs.

The latest cohort joins 56 other Newark-based graduates of the program created by Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and RWJBarnabas Health with ground-level help from Mayor Ras Baraka’s Centers of Hope.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka speaks at Hire Newark’s Class IV graduation. Photo – City of Newark via Twitter

Carter writes that Taylor, who suffered multiple setbacks in her personal and professional life, said that she was at her “breaking point” before she landed with Hire Newark. The program instilled in her and her fellow graduates the job-ready soft skills that will serve them well in their new occupations. Carter reports that Taylor has already begun her new job as a secretary at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleview.

Another graduate, Alfred Elliott, can “walk with his head held high” after getting out of dead-end temp work jobs and hired by RWJBarnabas Health as an inventory specialist.

Hire Newark’s innovative job-readiness program prepares its graduates for the job market. Photo – City of Newark via Twitter

Their success is due in part to a groundswell of assistance for chronically unemployed workers in the city, as local employers and policymakers are pledging to increase hiring to meet Baraka’s goal of 2,020 hires by 2020, otherwise known as Newark 2020. Two years of Hire Newark have changed the lives of 83 total graduates and Carter writes that the continued success has resulted in an expansion of the free training program.

Newark 2020 is committed to solving the city’s employment gap, as only 18 percent of jobs are held by Newark residents, one of the lowest rates in the nation. The initiative is a partnership between local companies and organizations such as RWJBarnabas Health and Newark Alliance. By tapping into the potential of its local workforce, the initiative is working to uplift these workers out of poverty and into jobs which provide a living wage.

WorkingNation highlighted the issue of long-term unemployment in New Jersey as part of its Town Hall held in conjunction with Rutgers University’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Newark Alliance CEO Kimberly McLain was a featured panelist and she describes in the following video how Hire Newark and the work of RWJBarnabas is a viable solution for revitalizing these underserved and often ignored workers.

You can catch more of McLain and her fellow panelists’ discussion with moderator and PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan on December 27 at 8 p.m. when our Town Hall TV special airs on NJTV. It will be followed by two more airings, check the NJTV television schedule for times. More videos taken from the Town Hall are available here.

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