NJ Transit River Line train to Camden NJ.

NJ Transit River Line train to Camden NJ.

During the past year, CAIT’s Rutgers Youth Success Program has engaged over 120 justice-impacted and other vulnerable young people from the Camden, NJ area in activities helping them get back to school, land jobs, seek apprenticeship and career opportunities, and overcome barriers to success.

The Rutgers Youth Success Program at the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) provides support to justice-impacted and other vulnerable young people in Camden NJ — using the transportation and infrastructure sectors to create sustainable employment opportunities for young people from this historically marginalized community.

Rutgers Youth Success Program (RYSP) is supported by two New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development grants, “Bridges to Employing Youth” and “Youth Transitioning to Work.”

Since launching in March 2022, CAIT has established an experienced staff from the local community that provides the young participants with trauma-informed and strengths-based case management, job readiness, career exposure, work experience, and educational, legal, and wraparound support services.

The team hosts career-readiness workshops 3 days a week for youth in the program, provides pre-apprenticeship training including industry credentials and quality outcomes, works with local automotive companies to establish registered apprenticeship programs and career pipelines for youth in the transportation field, and performs outreach into high schools in the city of Camden among other activities.

“This critical work leverages USDOT goals of building a more equitable transportation system, NJDOL goals of supporting youth in overcoming barriers to employment, and Northeastern US economic needs in a region where demand for transportation and supply chain workers continues to grow,” said Dr. Patrick Szary, CAIT Associate Director and Bridges to Employing Youth PI. “From supply chain to mechanics and more, CAIT is proud to support NJ youth in overcoming barriers to sustainable employment in the transportation sector.”

Now beginning Year 2, take a look back at some of CAIT’s program successes so far:

  • Engaged 90 16–24-year-old justice impacted participants in the program.
  • Attracted more than $1.2 million dollars of support to Camden NJ this year alone.
  • 46 youth joined not having finished high school and not in school, 26 have since returned to an academic program and completed/are on path to completion.
  • 58 youth have gotten eligible non-subsidized employment, 25+ hrs/week at minimum wage plus.
  • Identified 12 participants specifically interested in transportation careers and are helping them work toward that.
  • 28 young people have enrolled in Youth Transitioning to Work Pre-Apprenticeship Program (primarily HS seniors interested in auto mechanics or transportation careers).
  • Hired 5+ full time staff in Camden doing outreach, hosting workshops, developing and pursuing apprenticeship/internship/career opportunities for young people in the program.

“Camden NJ is one of the most historically underserved cities nationwide. We are proud to be doing this work supporting young people from the local community and helping them overcome barriers and build strong pathways to sustainable and meaningful employment,” said Mr. Todd Pisani, RYSP Research Project Manager. “We built a strong foundation during this past year, and are looking ahead to expanding our program and support services.”