NJDOT’s Clean Up NJ Campaign To Get Summertime Youth Boost

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TRENTON – The Christie Administration today announced the revival of the Urban Youth Corps summer program that will create employment opportunities for hundreds of young adults who will develop essential employment skills while designing and carrying out roadway enhancement projects.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation will partner with ten cities or community organizations to create supervised teams of young adults that will design landscaping, pedestrian enhancements, murals or other streetscape improvements at urban gateway locations. The teams also will develop programs to maintain their project areas in good condition.

“Attractive and well-maintained highways, including the gateways to our cities, help promote New Jersey as a great place to live, visit or establish a business,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “This Urban Youth Corps program adds another element to our Clean Up NJ campaign that helps us show off New Jersey’s beauty and strengthen the economy. Participants will learn employment skills that will help them advance in life while earning a paycheck.”

NJDOT is sending out letters to community organizations and cities throughout New Jersey requesting proposals for participation in the eight-week Urban Youth Corps program. Proposals should target areas near state roads that are chronically plagued by litter, graffiti, overgrown vegetation or other aesthetic issues.

Each project will be supported by up to $32,000 in federal Urban Youth Corps funds for salaries for up to ten young adults and a supervisor as well as equipment and supplies. NJDOT will assign a supervisor to provide guidance to all the projects statewide.

Participants between the ages of 16-25 will receive employment and life-skills training. A primary benefit to participants is gaining work experience that will help them succeed in future efforts to obtain jobs. Communities benefit from projects that create attractive gateways for residents and visitors.

“At a time when all of the nation’s young men and women are facing a discouraging job market, programs such as this are important. Through my department, Governor Chris Christie has been supporting similar programs that offer job training and the hope of future employment to New Jersey youths who also face obstacles such as poverty, troubled families, homelessness, substance abuse and a lack of education,” said Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The NJDOT Urban Youth Corps program is separate and distinct from the state-funded New Jersey Youth Corps program administered by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The New Jersey Youth Corps program operates year-round at 11 sites statewide and is the type of community-based organization that NJDOT will reach out to for participation in its summer employment program to beautify urban gateways.

Since it was launched in the summer of 2010, Clean Up NJ has included dozens of concentrated highway cleanup efforts by nearly 500 NJDOT maintenance workers; litter pick-up and grass trimming by Department of Corrections inmate; and wildflower plantings. The summer Urban Youth Corps program is a new element to the campaign.

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