NJDOT Awards Grants to Urban Youth Corps Programs
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) will be distributing $225,000 in federal grants to help fund summer youth employment programs, which will assist in the state’s efforts to keep lands near highways and public transit facilities clean and aesthetically pleasing, said Transportation Commissioner John J. Haley, Jr.
"We accomplish some very beneficial goals with this program," Haley said. "We put kids to work, they learn about certain aspects of transportation projects and improve the quality of their communities. I am compelled to sponsor this program because it will ultimately help these kids begin to acquire the skills they need to deal with real world situations." To date, 25 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have initiated youth corps programs using federal highway funds, Haley added.
The NJDOT’s Urban Youth Corps "Urban Gateway Enhancements" program will fund grants of $25,000 a piece to local government agencies or community based organizations and is designed to enhance transportation "gateway" areas. Proposals for projects were solicited from cities that are members of the state’s Urban Coordinating Council and Urban Enterprise Zones. Nine projects were selected in eight cities including Jersey City (recipient of two grants), Long Branch, Asbury Park, Vineland, Pleasantville, Paterson, Passaic and Plainfield.
Youths participating in the program receive on-the-job training while working on transportation related projects and will learn technical skills the areas of horticulture, construction and streetscape enhancements, said Anthony M. Davis, director of the NJDOT’s Division on Civil Rights/Affirmative Action, whose office administers the NJDOT’s Urban Youth Corps Program.
Davis said the grants will provide the sponsoring organizations with participant stipends and supervisor salaries. The NJDOT will also provide basic supplies and equipment.