The Sussex County New Jersey Youth Corps recently awarded high school diplomas to students at a celebratory graduation ceremony at Project Self-Sufficiency.  The 16-week program offers education and training in preparation for the high school equivalency exam.  Commemorative photos, along with caps and gowns, were provided by Project Self-Sufficiency Board member Kathy Esposito and Legacy Studios.

Students from the program’s most recent graduating class will continue their education, join the workforce or enter the military.


“This innovative program offers young adults who might not have been successful in a traditional high school setting the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, get on-the-job training and receive essential support as they enter the next stage in their life,” explains Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “We are proud to have been able to support these individuals as they move on to college, a career or military service.”

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The New Jersey Youth Corps offers young adults, ages 16 – 25, the opportunity to augment their literacy skills, prepare for the high school equivalency exam, obtain on-the-job work experience, and transition into a career, college or the military.  Participants must be Sussex or Warren County residents, aged 16 – 25, who have not completed high school.  In addition to classroom instruction, New Jersey Youth Corps participants take their learning on the road to wildlife preserves, social service agencies, state parks and other institutions where they assist with work projects and other tasks.  The 16-week program operates multiple times a year; enrollment is still open for the summer session which begins July 9th.


Those New Jersey Youth Corps students who achieved their high school diploma through the program include Erin Allen, Morgan Culleny, Amanda DeGroat, Brenda Garrison, Nicole Geletova Tomova, Sean Gill, Angelina Jordan, Alexis Miller, Eric Montanaro, Aaron Ortiz, Anthony Powell, Matthew Rapisardi, Dante Thompson and Chloe Wagner.


“The New Jersey Youth Corps is a more personalized experience than high school,” commented New Jersey Youth Corps graduate Chloe Wagner, 16. “They give you the resources you need, and they help you learn what you really need to know.  I feel like it brings out the good in you.  Helping people and making a difference is huge.  We’ve learned CPR and other basic skills we will use later in life.  It’s an amazing opportunity.”


The next cycle of the New Jersey Youth Corps cycle will launch July 9, 2018.  Project Self-Sufficiency is offering a $100 gift card to those who refer young adults, ages 16 – 25, to the 16-week program.  To receive the gift card, referred individuals must enroll in the program, complete the two-week orientation and be inducted into the program.


The curriculum includes assessments, testing, employability skills training, life skills workshops, academic instruction, community service projects, field trips, and counseling services.  Program participants will prepare for the high school equivalency examination, and receive a stipend of $100 per week, based on attendance for the full week.  Free transportation is provided.  Childcare is also provided free of charge at the Little Sprouts Early Learning Center


The New Jersey Youth Corps, which is funded by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, is also in operation at sites around the state, including Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson, Phillipsburg, Pleasantville, Trenton and Vineland.  To register for the New Jersey Youth Corps, or to find out more about other programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, visit or call 973-940-3500.