NEWARK, NJ — A Newark-based job training and preparation program for youth is now open for enrollment. 

United Community Corporation in Newark announced on Monday that it is opening enrollment for its YouthBuild program, which aims to provide young adults with the opportunity to gain high school equivalency credentials or learn career traits through pre-apprenticeship programs - all while earning monetary stipends during the learning process.

The program was introduced for teens and young adults aged 16-24 in September 2020, and so far has served 327 clients from September through December. 

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“YouthBuild is a program that has several goals for both the participants for who it supports and the communities it serves,” UCC Executive Director Craig Mainor told TAPinto Newark. “It provides immediate benefits through hands-on training and employment opportunities for our young people. They receive not only an opportunity to continue their educational journey but also an opportunity to build marketable skills and work history.” 

UCC officials said the pre-apprenticeship programs offer training in construction, computer tech, and medical and dental tech. Once the pre-apprenticeship is completed, the enrolled member will work with YouthBuild’s job developer to find the right placement and will work with an alumni specialist/mentor for a year as they break into their new field.

Alongside job-placement resources, the program also provides educational services to help its members with secondary schooling if they choose to further pursue their education. In addition to helping program members that didn’t finish high school with the chance to earn a high school diploma equivalency, it works with students that may have graduated high school, but still aren’t proficient in reading or math. 

Upon acceptance into the program, which operates out of 205 Spruce St. in Newark, officials said students will undergo two weeks of mental toughness training before pursuing their personally selected field and getting started on their new journey.

“The key thing with YouthBuild is that we’re doing this in a non-traditional way,” YouthBuild Director Jacqueline Henry said. “We are working with a cluster of young adults to show them that all hope isn’t lost. We are providing them with the road map.

“YouthBuild is very important for people that previously struggled academically, don’t know where they fit among their own community, or aren’t sure of what their next step should be. YouthBuild provides a place that gives a sense of community and can guide them to that next step,” Henry added. 

YouthBuild is currently accepting interest forms online here. Inquiries can also be made by emailing youthbuild@uccnewark.org or calling 973-642-0181 (Ext: 5707).