CAMDEN, NJ — Six nonprofits have come together to create a new job training and employment placement program for the city, signaling what’s ahead as Camden prepares for a surge in economic development. 

The Camden Works initiative announced on Monday is being launched through the combined effort of the State of New Jersey NAACP, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, Latin America Economic Development Association, Center for Family Services, Hopeworks and the Camden County Workforce Development Board. The four-year private pilot program seeks to streamline the hiring process for residents, companies and job training programs by providing a “social safety net,” according to an advisory. 

With a focus on placing Camden residents in full-time employment, Camden Works will evaluate the needs of local companies, recruit and connect candidates to job training programs and then match them with companies that are hiring. George E. Norcross III, Cooper University Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Sourther Newjersey and more are included as financial partners in the initiative. 

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“There is no shortage of talented and ambitious people in the City of Camden, what has been lacking are the mechanisms to match that talent with employers and training programs that can set them on the path to a rewarding career,” Congressman Donald Norcross said in a press release. “Because of the unprecedented economic development in the city, many new jobs that have come to Camden are now filled by city residents. This initiative will give us the opportunity to build on that progress.” 

Camden Works will also be led by a group of advisory partners comprised of religious and business leaders and residents. It is designed with supporting social services to enable residents to overcome employment barriers. 

The city has seen steady growth in its access and opportunities to employment, reaching a record low in its unemployment levels in 2019. While Camden still lags behind the state as a whole, the progress it has made will be compounded by the new program, according to the press release. 

“Camden Works will optimize how we connect Camden’s richly diverse and talented workforce to tremendous companies looking for particular skill sets,” said Mayor Frank Moran. 

The six nonprofits behind the program will also assist the Camden Business Association to develop a database to identify small businesses and increase local supplier diversity.