EO launches virtual summer work experience program

EAST ORANGE, NJ — Mayor Ted Green, the East Orange City Council and the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training launched the city’s new Virtual Summer Work Experience Program, to run between July 13 and Aug. 21.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the VIP Online Academy was created to provide a dynamic virtual learning experience in collaboration with the city of East Orange; Voices International Publications founded by author, motivational speaker and activist Jamila T. Davis; EGL PUDS, aka Everything Girls Love Partners Uplifting Our Daughters and Sons, co-founded by entrepreneur and reality TV star Yandy Smith; and Seton Hall University under the direction of professor Juan Rios, director of the Department of Social Work.

Adopting a holistic approach amid today’s social climate, this summer’s work program will place a strong emphasis on civic engagement and leadership in which all students will participate in group community-based projects that allow them to turn their voices into power.

Some of the workshops will feature nationally-recognized social activist Tamika Mallory, co-founder of Until Freedom and the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, as well as an instrumental voice in fighting for human rights, equality, gun control and freedom. 

The VIP Online Academy will connect skilled instructors, industry experts, and celebrity influencers with students seeking to further hone their talents, unleash their entrepreneurial potential and create immediate income-generating opportunities.

The online program offers six modules: OSHA 30 about construction and labor; media and podcast; music development; personal care, such as hair, makeup, etc.; web and graphic design; and wellness and physical fitness. Students will choose one module and receive certification in that area upon completion of the six-week program. A small number of interested applicants will also receive traditional on-site employment with the city’s Department of Public Works and the East Orange Water Department.

“I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to provide our students with a relevant job training experience that can translate into income long after this program ends,” Green said. “We’ve had to shut down and cancel so much over the past few months, but there was no way we were going to allow COVID-19 to stop us from giving our young people a chance to learn and earn this summer.”

Davis said she and her team are looking forward to empowering the youth of East Orange.

“We have all experienced a difficult year. Despite our current obstacles, we want them to know they can push ahead, learn some new skills, use their time wisely, earn money and have fun all at the same time,” Davis said. “This will definitely be a memorable experience and a way for them to connect with professionals, influencers and celebrities who they admire.”

The program is for East Orange residents between the ages of 14 and 20. Students will be paid $10.10 per hour for a 20-hour week Monday through Thursday.

For more information, call 973-677-8914 or visit eastorangeswep.org.