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Two Newark groups will receive $1.5 million each to train at-risk youth for jobs in construction and other in-demand industries thanks to a recent grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The United Community Corporation Newark and Youthbuild Newark, which is part of the Newark Opportunity Youth Network (NOYN) were two of 67 grant recipients nationwide who will share a total of $85 million.

“Job training and education are key to preparing our nation’s young men and women for economic success,” U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said. “By investing in these local workforce development programs, the Department is expanding opportunities for at-risk youth in communities across the country.”

“Youthbuild programs have the ability to change the lives of thousands of American students,” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch. “(This) announcement will provide new opportunities for young people across the country to take the first step toward good-paying careers.”

UCC is a social service organization dedicated to helping members of the community attain the skills, knowledge, and motivation needed for economic self-sufficiency.  According to its website, the organization’s goal is to “assist low-income, disadvantaged individuals and families to become self-supporting, while enhancing their quality of life and standard of living.”

NOYN focuses on young people 16-24 years old, providing them with job training and industry-recognized certifications in construction, healthcare, and technology, while earning a high school diploma.

New Jersey, like the rest of the nation, is facing a shortage of skilled workers.  According to NJBIA’s 2020 Business Outlook Survey, 63% of businesses said they have difficulty locating technical/middle-skilled employees, and 62% said they have trouble finding professional or highly skilled talent.