NJDOT advances urban youth program
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced 15 projects have received funding for the Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement program.
The Urban Youth Corps is a program designed to target youth between the ages of 16 and 25 who are economically or socially disadvantaged and who have experienced barriers to employment such as the lack of a high school diploma. These youths receive on-the-job training while working on transportation-related projects, in which they learn about horticulture, restoration of historic structures, computer-aided drafting, construction skills, and streetscape and pedestrians enhancements.
NJDOT, through its Civil Rights and Affirmative Action division, has been funding this program for the past three years. Grants up to $25,000 per project are directed to local government agencies, non-profit community organizations or other established youth programs. The organization then hires youths and engages them in gateway enhancement activities.
The Urban Youth Corps, with the aid of city officials and NJDOT, will select gateways, specific locations or land pockets within the city boundaries that are owned by the State of New Jersey or the local government, and a the frequent cause of complaints due to excessive litter, graffiti, or high grass. NJDOT supplies equipment and materials.
"The Urban Youth Corps is a wonderful program that not only benefits our young citizens, but provides a meaningful way to improve the appearance of our highways," Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein said. "I’m certain motorists will see the results of this effort at gateway locations around our state."
To date, approximately 25 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have initiated urban youth corps projects using their Federal-aid highway funds.