John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development;
In June 2006, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ) contracted with the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey to conduct an assessment of the Newark/Essex Construction Careers Consortium (N/ECCC) program. The program's primary objective is to improve the employment prospects and earnings of Essex County's low-income residents. The program aims to achieve this goal by preparing its graduates for apprenticeships with one of the county's 17 construction and building trades unions. During the 10-week program, students receive intensive and highly targeted academic preparation in math, reading, and critical thinking; are introduced to the different building trades through hands-on work and site visits; and receive instruction in life skills. After completing the program, graduates apply for apprenticeships with the building trades. NJISJ, in cooperation with a consortium of more than 20 organizations in Essex County, New Jersey, offers the program three times a year to 30-40 students per session with an annual budget of $600,000. The School Construction Corporation provides 75% of the program's funding (about $450,000 on average), and the Prudential Foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contribute the remaining $150,000 annually. The average cost per participant is approximately $6,000.