Newark, NJ -- The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice hosted a commencement ceremony on July 14 for the 13 graduates of its Environmental Remediation Job Training Program, which prepares participants for careers in the green economy. “There are opportunities that arise in life. As you get older, those opportunities are few and far between. This is one of those opportunities,” graduate Egan Lewis said during the ceremony at PSEG corporate headquarters in Newark. “What a journey this has been, and through this journey we have gained so much; most of all a new network of friends and associates.”
“We are so pleased to celebrate the graduation of these 13 participants from the Institute’s Environmental Remediation Job Training Program,” said NJISJ President and CEO Ryan P. Haygood, Esq. “We congratulate them on their hard work and their determination to succeed. The Institute’s job training programs have an excellent track record of helping our graduates obtain stable, good-paying jobs. We know that when we expand access to economic opportunity, that benefits not just individuals and their families, but it helps build stronger communities as well.” The ceremony also featured guest speaker Ellen Lambert, Chief Diversity Officer, President, PSEG Foundation, and Director Corporate Citizenship & Culture. “Every day there will be an obstacle, but you will face that obstacle and walk through it,” Lambert told the graduates. “Never give up, because what you’ve done is taken 10 steps forward. When you take one step back, rely on the nine you took before that and keep going. You have done something incredible.” The 14-week Environmental Remediation Job Training Program prepares participants for state licenses and certifications in asbestos removal, certified lead renovator, OSHA 30 (construction site safety), OSHA 40 (Hazardous Waste Operation Emergency Response, or HAZWOPER), confined space entry, fire prevention and protection, mold/microbial, water and soil sampling. The NJISJ program includes academic instruction, technical skills training and comprehensive case management. The program also offers job placement and retention services and maintains a relationship with participants for a minimum of six months after graduation. Program participants are often low-income, have low literacy levels and have little access to opportunities. Many are returning home after incarceration. The Institute has offered the Workforce Development and Training Programs since 2001 and to date, more than 542 individuals have graduated from the programs, 74% of whom are gainfully employed. To view the commencement ceremony photo gallery, please click here.