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Statewide green job training program in New Jersey led by unique partnership.

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Led by the New Jersey Building Laborers Training and Apprenticeship Fund (NJBLTAF), the partnership includes the Black Ministers Council of NJ, the state’s County Vocational-Technical Schools, Laborers’ Union Local 55, and the Workforce Investment System.

Statewide green job training program in New Jersey led by unique partnership.

A diverse group of partners is coming together as the New Jersey Weatherization Training Consortium to create a unique weatherization training program that will train 600 people over 18 months.

The Statewide Weatherization Training Program targets unemployed and underemployed urban centers to deliver quality training and support services to individuals facing barriers to employment. This program is funded through a grant provided by The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The Black Ministers Council of NJ will lead outreach and recruiting for the training program, and the Workforce Investment Boards will administer an entry test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) once individuals have joined.

The ten-week long training begins with a 5 week academic basic skills re-orientation, life skills and job readiness segment, headed by the NJ Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools. Instructors from the Black Ministers Council of NJ teach Life and Job Readiness Skills. Each student is also assigned a case manager to help connect the participant with resources and support.

The NJ Building Laborers Training & Apprenticeship Fund (NJBLTAF) provides the weatherization vocational training during the last five weeks of the program. This component consists of: General Construction Safety, Environmental Safety, General Carpentry Skills and Weatherization Technician/Installer.

“To be able to create a specified vocational training program utilizing the strengths of each consortium member shows that partnerships such as this will be a valuable asset to sustainable job creation,” said Don Howard, Training Director, NJBLTAF.

Once participants graduate, Laborers Local Union 55 will lead the job search effort by working through the Black Ministers Council of NJ to reach other organizations such as CAP’s to place individuals in jobs. Local 55 will provide assistance and union representation and membership for those employed by union contractors.

“What we are really doing is encouraging communities to succeed by offering individuals the chance to take advantage of living wage jobs,” says Larry Glover of the Black Ministers Council of NJ. “More than just employment of an individual, a job is a signal to the community that we have the opportunity to change our circumstances.”

This program is a result of many months of organizing by Laborers Local Union 55 and the Garden State Alliance for a Green Economy (GANE) to ensure that Recovery Act funds provide opportunities for pathways out of poverty for economically distressed communities. Community and labor groups took the opportunity to participate in the public comment period for the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) Plan in order to secure language requiring that 50% of all new weatherization workers come from a state certified training program.

As the state-selected certified training program, the NJ Weatherization Training Consortium is confident that their coalition brings the right mix of organizations with existing relationships with employers to ensure the program meets or exceeds the goal of placing eighty percent of graduates into jobs.

“It’s amazing what people and organizations can accomplish when nobody’s worried about who gets the credit,” remarks Wayne Richardson, President of Laborers Local Union 55. “It’s all about getting folks together and doing the right thing for the people in our communities.

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