After receiving the necessary grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor to implement the program, which is administered by Hudson County's schools of technology and the recently opened One-Stop Career Center, it became available to four participating Abbot "special needs" school districts: Union City, West New York, Hoboken and Harrison.
"This may provide people with the opportunity to change occupations or get an occupation," said William J. Endress, district coordinator for West New York.
What is the program?
Recruitment for the program, which began sometime in January, targeted the residents of the participating Abbott Districts, who are high school graduates or have received their GED, and even high school seniors who are in good academic standing.
Those who have prior experience in the construction trades or similar job training such as mechanical, manual laboring, measuring or tool usage can join the program to further enhance those skills. Also, the recruit must have a driver's license or the ability to obtain one, and once they begin an apprenticeship program, they will earn a salary.
Those who sign up must also be willing to travel, because the union will send out recruits to where there is necessity and better money.
"They are paying to train you, and you will be in the union," said Endress. "Once you're in the union you can get sent anywhere in the state."
The program provides assistance for women and minorities to prepare for admission into one of the 19 trade union apprenticeship training programs and respective trade classes, which will meet twice on weeknights and once every Saturday, to help the applicant prepare for the trade union apprenticeship training test.
Preliminary assessments are also done during the application process to see which trade best suits the applicant. Residents from each of the Abbott Districts will find the exact same program offered and train together in Union City.
"All our stuff is consistent; we all offer the same program because we're all after the same thing," said Endress. Each class cycle will meet from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weeknights and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, running for six to eight weeks at the Union City Career Academy at 1901 West St.
Application requirements needed upon submission include a desire to work in a skill union trade, a valid driver's license (within three months), proficiency in English, a high school diploma/GED, passing a drug test, good physical condition, a social security number, a copy of a birth certificate, and willingness to submit to criminal background check and to travel to various construction sites upon the completion of the apprenticeship program and admission to the union. Applicants will be contacted shortly by the CTTP-WM.
"Most people are very receptive to the idea. It's a way to get into trade schools," said Endress.
Flyers advertising the program have been distributed throughout Bergenline Avenue, which connects Union City and West New York. Every student in the West New York school system was also sent home with information on the program for their families, and there has also been mention on cable TV. Additional advertising has also been done in Hoboken and Union City.
This program is beneficial for residents who are unemployed, underemployed, and even seniors in high school who are looking to trade school after graduation. Most graduates of these apprenticeship programs will start off earning approximately $10 to $17 an hour depending on their particular trade, and can reach $30 to $40 an hour in just a few short years.
Information and applications can be obtained in West New York at Memorial High School, 5501 Park Ave., and the West New York Public Library on 60th Street, in Union City by calling Richard Quagliariello at (201) 271-6264, in Hoboken by calling Robert Debenedetto at (201) 356-3643, and in Harrison by calling Don Holler at (973) 482-5050, ex. 1022.
First classes are scheduled to begin Feb. 21. Teachers for the training programs are also still in demand, especially math teachers, and can request information from these same sites. This project is sponsored by the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation and funded through a contract with the New Jersey Department of Labor, Division of Business Services.