DOT offers summer
landscaping jobs for disadvantaged youths
(Trenton) - Disadvantaged urban youths will get the chance to learn a skill and bring home a paycheck this summer working part-time jobs landscaping and cleaning up their local communities, under a program funded by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The DOT is now enlisting local government and non-profit organizations with established youth programs to sign up for the Urban Youth Corps and qualify for grants of up to $25,000 to cover the cost of salaries and supplies. The program is designed to help economically or socially disadvantaged urban youths and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 receive on-the-job training, earn part-time income and improve their local communities by planting trees, mowing grass, picking up litter and removing graffiti.
"The Urban Youth Corps is an opportunity to make a difference with young people who have struggled to find employment due to lack of education, homelessness, or being mentally or physically challenged," said Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. "Additional benefit comes to the community in the form of highway beautification projects that otherwise may not have been performed."
Using federal highway funds, the Urban Youth Corps Program will run for about two months through the summer and early fall. Local groups will hire and supervise teams of six to eight young people who work four to six hours a day. The DOT provides funding, guidance and training.
The work is performed on publicly owned property located on or near a state highway. Sponsoring organizations work with local officials to identify three gateways to their community for cleanup activities. Ideal locations are areas that have been a source of frequent complaints regarding litter, overgrown grass or graffiti. Participants learn landscaping, urban forestry, restoration of historic structures, construction inspection and materials testing. In addition, the young people are taught life skills, safety and technical skills.
The DOT expects to use $500,000 to fund at least 20 grants across the state. Applications have to be submitted to the DOT by June 10.