Five YouthBuild Newark, Inc. (YBN) graduates celebrated a significant accomplishment on October 26, 2012 when they successfully completed the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s (NJISJ) Construction Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program. Complementing YBN’s construction training, the initiative consists of a rigorous, 10-week curriculum that prepares participants for successful entry into New Jersey’s labor unions.

Mark Fowler, YBN Class of 2010; Jeremy Reddick, YBN Class of 2010; Shaquana Stevens, YBN Class of 2011; Alexandra Truesdale, YBN Class of 2010; and Nelson Pryce, Newark Leadership Academy graduate and Valedictorian celebrated their achievement at PSEG’s headquarters with family and friends. Albert Williams, NJISJ’s Director of Workforce Development and Training, stated that YBN graduates’ drive and ability to excel in the program, created a very positive impression of the capabilities of 18 to 24 year old young adults. Selected as Graduate Speaker, Jeremy Reddick spoke about the caring, yet candid approach of the NJISJ staff. Having reinvigorated his drive to learn and succeed, he says, “The whole process was a learning experience. I would promote it, tell people.”

In order to gain admission, applicants had to complete an academic assessment, undergo an interview conducted by a panel of NJISJ staff and a complete a drug screening. Upon conclusion of the program, NJISJ offers participants job placement assistance and continued support.

As of November 8, 2012, all five YouthBuild Newark graduates have successfully obtained employment.

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJSIJ) is a Newark-based urban research and advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of New Jersey’s urban areas and residents. For more information, visit http://www.njisj.org/about/our-mission/.