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|$172,000 grant from state Juvenile Justice Commission will pay wages for 32 Hudson County juveniles coming out of detention so they can get real jobs in community|
|Wednesday, 22 February 2012 12:50|
By Charles Hack for The Jersey Journal
More than 30 juveniles released from detention in Hudson County in the coming year will be granted the chance to carve out a future career that officials hope will lead them away from committing future crimes.
A $172,000 grant awarded last month from the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission to Youth Advocate Programs Inc. will pay the wages of 32 juveniles coming out of detention in Hudson County, said Gary Hyrnoweski, regional program director of YAP.
Hyrnoweski said the grant will help build skills and self-esteem for kids, who will be referred by the court system, as well as benefit employers willing to take a chance on employing youths coming out of juvenile detention.
“This gives the kids a chance to gain work experience and build a resume at the same time,” Hyrnoweski said. “For employers it is a trial period, and if the kids are hired . . . that is the ultimate success.”
The ultimate aim of the program is to assure that at least 85 percent of youths completing the program will not re-offend within six months of being discharged from detention.
According to a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an organization that advocates for disadvantaged youth, some 70 to 80 percent of youths released from residential corrections programs are likely to be rearrested within two or three years. Under the program, the employees can try working in various businesses, including barber shops, landscaping companies, fitness clubs and retail stores.
Each youth taking part receives a wage for up to 265 hours annually, Hyrnoweski said. They also receive counseling, job referrals and help finding housing.
Hyrnoweski said YAP trains the employees for interviews, but the employers make the ultimate decision whether to hire and fire.
“It’s good for the employees because they get to train and give back to community that these kids are in,” Hyrnoweski said. “It is encouraging that somebody is willing to take the kids on even if they have made a bad decision along the way.”