NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Reentry, the program that former Gov. Jim McGreevey started to help recently released inmates obtain housing and employment, is now moving to assist a large segment of society with training for and placement in jobs in construction trades through a program called NJBuild.

At ceremonies Thursday marking the opening of the NJBuild office in New Brunswick, McGreevey said the program provides training and certifications for people to work in construction and is working with businesses to get these people good paying jobs.

"This is about bringing back the dignity of providing for yourself and for you family," he said.

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In addition to helping people who are recovering from addition or were recently incarcerated, NJBuild is reaching out to women, minorities, veterans and low-income workers, said Anabel Damaceia, director of the program.

"We provide free training," Damaceia said.

The "pre-apprenticeship" program provides about 10 weeks of training in various construction fields, and then seeks to connect participants with jobs in a construction company, working with businesses considered "background friendly," or accepting of less than positive prior experiences. 

"We are working hard to bring people back into the community, rebuild their lives, but hold them accountable. Hold them accountable to showing up on time, hold them accountable to working hard everyday, holding them accountable to being responsible mothers and fathers," McGreevey said.

He said there has been a less 10 percent re-incarceration rate for people in the NJ Reentry program, and between 58 to 62 percent in that program have found employment. 

To be qualify for NJBuild, a person must at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or a GED, a driver's license and a valid ID, such as a passport, social security card, or birth certificate. They also need a valid score from a Test for Adult Basic Education obtained in the last six months.

The program will help people who do not have those requirements. There is also an instant decision to all applicants on whether they are accepted in the program. People are also given help with language skills to assist them in applying for job.

Working with a $843,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, NJBuild is seeking to help people in seven counties, including Hudson, Essex, Passaic, Middlesex, Monmouth, Middlesex, and Somerset.

The office in New Brunswick is at 57 Livingston Avenue, near the city library. There are also offices at 398 MLK Jr. Dr. in Jersey City and at 32 Prince St. in Newark.

New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill praised the training program.

"This program is about getting people back to work so they can take care of themselves and their families," he said.

Information about the program is available at www.njreentry.org/njbuild.