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Press Release

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2015

Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Launch FOCUS ON FAMILIES Initiative

Union County NJ Freeholder-Mohamed-JallohUnited Way of Greater Union County and Community Partner Organizations to Combat Issues Affecting Families In Need

Elizabeth, New Jersey ~ The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved funding for United Way of Greater Union (UWGUC) to implement Union County’s Focus on Families initiative that will integrate economic development, workforce development and family services in a comprehensive effort to support families, particularly those most in need. The initiative calls for the building of two new Family Success Centers (Union and Rahway) and the implementation of a Youth Employment Program (will open by the end of the year).

The highly-anticipated initiative will integrate the UWGUC Family Success Center model with resources and programs offered through the Union County Families Resource Network (The Network).  The Network, a partnership created by United Way of Greater Union County in 2008, boasts an impressive list of social service agencies, community-based organizations, employers and training facilities, and resource providers that promote strengthening families.  Through the management of a consortium of service providers, UWGUC will also implement a new youth employment initiative (known as the Youth Employment and Training program) funded by the Union County Workforce Investment Board (WIB).  The consortium will collectively provide services customized to train and employ 150 teens and young adults ages 14-21years old.  The initiative will officially begin July 1st and run through 2016.

“When our families do well, the community thrives,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh, who announced the program as part of his initiatives as Chairman for 2015, and serves as a liaison to the WIB.   “Our families must have the basics – jobs that provide enough income to support a decent standard of living, safe streets, effective schools, and affordable health care. This initiative creates a comprehensive partnership between private, non-profit and government sectors in Union County and leverages our effort in support of these goals.”  

The Youth Employment & Training program is designed to find and engage employers who will provide summer internships, year-round pre-apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities. Youth will also receive supportive services that include adult mentoring, guidance and counseling (mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, etc.), financial literacy education, entrepreneurial skills training, tutoring, study skills training, and dropout prevention services. The intent is to expose youth to the workplace and teach them the responsibilities of keeping and excelling in a job, and ultimately a career.  

“The Chairman’s initiative is very timely,” stated Union County Freeholder Sergio Granados, who is a liaison to the WIB.  “As the economy improves and the needs and demographics of local communities continue to evolve, the linking of economic development, workforce development and family support provides an excellent opportunity for our families to improve their quality of life.”

The Freeholder Board has appointed a task force to monitor the progress of the initiative to ensure families and youth receive the necessary support and services.  Consortium partners will report to UWGUC and the County to provide coordinated efforts and make adjustments to programs as necessary. The services may adjust, as data is analyzed and used for programming.  As UWGUC leads the way, the first year of operation will be devoted to executing the initiative and hosting regular planning meetings among the consortium partners to assure that target levels of service, best practices and quality improvement measures are being performed.

“I’m pleased our community leadership and elected officials are behind this work.  We have worked diligently to bring together those who have the resources to help support families in need.  Our data shows us that when families grow stronger, children do better in school, and the quality of life in neighborhoods gets better,” states James W. Horne, President/CEO of United Way of Greater Union County.

For more information call 908-353-7171 or visit www.uwguc.org.

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