Providing Jobs to Former Addicts and Convicts with NJBuild
James McGreevey, Former Governor of New Jersey and Chairman of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, and Bill O’Dea, Hudson County Freeholder and Founder of Project Impact, sit down with Steve Adubato to discuss how they are working together to expand their resources in New Jersey through the NJBuild grant, which helps increase opportunities for training and employment for those with a history of addiction or incarceration.
"We're pleased to be joined, once again, by our good friend Jim McGreevey, who happens to be the former governor of the great state of New Jersey and chairman of an organization called New Jersey Reentry Corporation, and Bill O’Dea, Hudson County Freeholder and connected with an organization called? Project IMPACT. We'll talk about that in a second... Jim you've helped us… by the way, just to paraphrase the late friend Governor Byrne... he wanted to be buried in Hudson county, so that he could...? Could stay involved in Democratic politics. I'm going to leave that alone, because we're not talking about politics in Jersey City or Hudson County, we are in fact continuing an ongoing conversation, Jim, that we've been having about... by the way, New Jersey Reentry Corporation... as the website comes up... so that people know what it is. Sure, www.NJreentry.org. And it does what? Basically we work with people coming out of state prison, coming out of county jails and drug courts and federal prison, get back into civilian life. Whether we're helping them with their medical, with their legal services, with identification, also providing them connections with structured sober housing, but most importantly employment training and employment. And I think that's the importance of what we're doing here today. We were blessed with... the state of New Jersey Department of Labor works cooperatively with the Department of Transportation to receive a grant between us and Bill of about a million dollars to put young men and women that are traditionally underserved... coming out of prison... underserved populations... putting them to work, allowing them to become pre apprentices. So, we have an array of services. Everything that we do with Reentry, but in addition we're gonna get them lined up so that they can become union members. Whether it's a carpenter, electrician... better paint jobs... Give them a lifetime skill. Bill, talk about your involvement in this. So we created... And the impact, if you will. We created a program and... beginning in Jersey City called Project IMPACT, increasing minority participation and access to construction trade. It started with Pat Kelleher who was the head of the Hudson County Building Trades. We at first did one trade, which was plumbers, and we got 13 individuals over the course of two years, women and minorities that would never otherwise have gotten into the trade. They weren't getting in? They weren't getting in. We prep them, we give them practice tests, we teach them the math and reading skills..."