JEVS is expanding its program offerings in New Jersey with the launch of New Jersey Youth Corps of Atlantic County – JEVS. The free program is open to all young adults in Atlantic County age 16-25 who did not complete high school, and provides a unique educational experience including academic instruction, work experience, and personal/career counseling. New Jersey Youth Corps is one of the largest youth service and conservation corps in the United States, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor, which funds the program.
“We have run JEVS programs in Atlantic County for the last 3 years,” said Program Director Latoyra Smith. “We see the need and want to address it by continuing to serve the community and expanding our services. This program builds upon our existing Opportunity Youth Academy, which serves young adults in the county who have been involved in the justice system. The Youth Corps now broadens our reach to encompass anyone age 16-25. We are doing this to help young people cope with deficiencies in the educational system.”
Education. Community Service. Career Development. Counseling.
A major goal of the New Jersey Youth Corps is to help young adults obtain a HSE (High School Equivalency), so much of the program’s time is dedicated to improving and developing the academic skills of Corpsmembers.
“This program is about allowing young people to overcome barriers that keep them from getting to the next level in life.” – Program Director Latoyra Smith
Corpsmembers develop the skills that are essential to achieve success in the workforce by participating in Service Projects that benefit the community, such as landscaping or beautification, or help in hospitals, food banks and senior centers. Corpsmembers participate in Employability & Life Skills instruction, as well as individual and group counseling to build self-esteem, clarify values and develop leadership skills.
Corpsmembers who successfully complete the program receive additional services such as college supports, job placement assistance, and assistance in transitioning to further training or service programs.
For their participation, corpsmembers will receive stipends at certain benchmarks like skills gains, placements, service learning, and program completion. Members have an opportunity to earn up to $1,750 during their participation in the program.
“I am excited for students to earn the incentives for achieving their goals,” said Smith.