PLAINFIELD, NJ - Plainfield Vision 2025 continued on Tuesday eveing, focusing on Workforce Development and Adult Training.
The five breakout sessions centered on five categories: Mentoring, Youth, Vocational Skills/Training, Job Opportunities, and Re-entry.
Success would lead to more jobs and a booming downtown, participants said. General community service ideas include 'clean where you live,' and similar initiatives that could involve high schoolers. Additional ideas include shadowing of public safety personnel and city employees, and a monthly calendar of themes for the city would work, so residents know what event to expect every month.
There would be a cleaner city, greater connections between its citizens, less crime, and greater pride in the City of Plainfield.
Youth-centric ideas that were discussed included after-school programs for 13 to 16 year-olds with PSAT and other college-prep classes, language classes, coding, survival skills, and other vocational skills that that lead to entrepreneurship. Teaching public speaking would be a plus.
A consistent theme on obstacles? Funding. And success would include a 100% graduation rate.
With respect to job opportunities, residents should be trained for jobs of the future, not of the present, and there's a need to show people how to start a small business, and work with banks for more leniency in lending money.
Long term goals? More grants and funding, digital tools like an APP because young people who love their phones could see where jobs and trainings are taking place.
Developer Mario Camino summarized his group's topic on vocational skills and training, and said one idea includes a city-funded pool of workers, a group of employees to whom the city would allocate a certain amount of money each year and employ in different departments around the city year round.
He continued, saying creative classes and computer programs are needed, but also noted that not one person in his group knew about any of the programs that are currently available in the city today A facility where all of these types of things can happen under one roof would be on the wish list, and there should be monthly informational sessions to talk about, specifically, the types of training programs that are being offered at a county level and at a state level.
The final presentation was on re-entry, and how there's a perception that people integrating back into society don't want to change their lifestyle, and how there is a need to make regional and state resources more readily available in Plainfield directly.
Stakeholders in re-entry include the City of Plainfield and all its residents, faith-based organizations, law enforcement and business owners, and the Department of Corrections.
Finally, a system for accountability to know who has been successful in re-entry, who has graduated, who has gotten an apprenticeship, and more, is a goal.
When timeline was discussed, presenter Norman Deen Muhammad said it was initially one to two years. But he continued, "this is something we want to start immediately, and be proactive." He said the City of Plainfield should have a prime model that can be held up for the rest of the state to mimic.
The remaining schedule of listening sessions is as follows; there are two on tap for next week:
- Connecting Community/Community Arts & Culture - Oct. 23, 7:00 pm, duCret School of Art, 1030 Central Avenue
- Municipal Government & Essential Services Performance - Oct. 25, 7:00 pm, Plainfield Library at 800 Park Avenue
- Plainfield Vision 2025 Community Playback - Nov. 4, 10:00 am, Plainfield High School at 950 Park Avenue
A session in Spanish has also been added on Oct. 30 at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 516 West 6th Street, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
The Plainfield Vision 2025 Executive Committee will present a final report to the Mayor in January 2018. Information on Plainfield Vision 2025 is available on the city’s website, www.plainfieldnj.gov, and social media platforms; you can follow along on Facebook @PlainfieldVision2025.
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