For forty years, the Center of Economic and Workforce Development (CEWD) has diligently fulfilled Union County College’s mission statement: it is the most immediate evidence of Transforming the Community One Student at a Time.
The evolution of CEWD, from the late 1979’s to 1991 at the Butler St. location in downtown Elizabeth, when it was known as the Employment Skills Center, to the re-location uptown at 40 West Jersey Street in 1992, and subsequently renamed the Career Institute, serving the Community Has always been the priority. The name of the Center may have changed but the mission has never wavered. Students referred from the various funding agencies were assured of quality programs focused on English language instruction, GED/HSE preparation and testing, Basic Skills enhancement, occupational training and job readiness/job development services.
In 2001, the Career Institute was given a new name: The Center of Economic and Workforce Development. CEWD has had the distinction of carrying on our core services ever since with outstanding success. As CEWD‘s reputation grew, so did appropriated County, Federal and State grants. As an acknowledgement of the success rate CEWD programs achieved, the Center was awarded additional funding which enabled services to broaden, thereby increasing substantially the number of student/clients who could be served. CEWD staff takes great pride in maintaining its excellent reputation as one of the top educational centers in the State.
Following is a brief overview of the Center for Economic and Workforce Development of Union County College program offerings, agency affiliations and students served.
CEWD offers the following programs:
The Center for Economic and Workforce Development (CEWD) provides training and support services to help the unemployed and the underemployed to be better positioned to enter and compete in today’s workforce as well as to develop life-long learning skills.
The Center offers a wide variety of programs and courses to over 4000 adults each year. The Center model includes standardized assessment, student support services, occupation-related basic skills instruction, and occupational training and job placement services. In keeping Union County College’s commitment to provide access to education for all, CEWD instruction is scheduled during the evenings, weekends and daytime hours so that adults can choose a schedule most convenient for themselves and their lifestyles. The Center for Economic and Workforce Development services are located on both the Elizabeth (Lessner Building) and Plainfield campuses which are equipped with state-of-the-art computer labs and offer full service operations to all CEWD students.
CEWD offers the following programs:
- Project ABLE Plus: This WIOA Title II program offers ESL, ESL Civics, Adult Basic skills development and GED preparation to eligible residents. This program is funded through the State of New Jersey Department of Labor.
- Job Search Workshops: Eligible Union County students develop career goals, prepare resumes and develop job seeking and maintenance skills through this four week Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) program.
- To-Work Community Work Experience Activities: These activities provide WFNJ eligible participants the opportunity to develop skills that will enable them to find and maintain employment. Participants are placed on a non-profit/community-based organization site to practice and hone their employability skills. These activities may be combined with Basic Skills, GED or ESL classes.
- Occupational Training: The Center provides 360 to 585 hour occupational training programs that provide instruction in demand occupations such as Medical Billing and Coding, Computer Software/Secretarial Science, Computerized Office Skills, Accounting Technician, ESL Office Skills, and Welding. These programs are offered to One Stop Career Center eligible participants (i.e. WIOA, TRA, DVE and WDP participants) or to individuals who wish to pay. Welding and Medical Billing and Coding and several of the computer training programs prepare students to take a national certification exam.
- Youth Programs: The Center has been instrumental in the implementation of both an Elizabeth Youth Corps and a Youth Transition-To-Work program. These programs provide at-risk youth (ages 17 to 24) the opportunity to develop Occupational skills and/or Basic Skills as well as the opportunity to develop an interest in and support community projects (i.e. feeding the homeless, planting trees and cleaning their environment).
In conjunction with an experienced administrative, support staff and qualified instructors, the Center has an involved Student Service staff and an active Job Development team who schedule regular career days and comprehensive job fairs for CEWD students and the community. As a Union County One Stop Career Center partner, the Center regularly supports the County’s Social Service Agencies with activities geared to increasing the productivity and employability of the agencies’ participants and Union County residents. Additionally, the College, through both the Center for Economic and Workforce Development and the College’s Continuing Education departments, supports the implementation of the new Workforce Innovation Business Center located in the Mills at Jersey Gardens (Jersey Gardens Mall). The Center and the College continue to prioritize working with County agencies and with local employers. Employment for Center students in the primary goal.