Newark hopes port will create jobs for residents
A new state-funded career and development center is hoping to help recruit Newark residents to find work at the city's port.
Port Newark is the largest port on the eastern seaboard, and it is growing. The port currently employs more than 100,000 workers, but less than 10 percent of that workforce hails from the city.
Newark's unemployment rate is almost twice the national average, and community leaders want to be able to look into Newark's backyard to alleviate the problem.
"We have to make sure Newark residents are first-in-line for opportunities created in this port," says Mayor Cory Booker.
The center's plan includes the hiring and training of ex-cons who are able to pass appropriate screening tests. Approximately 1,200 former convicts settle in Newark each year, such as job applicant Ernest Scott.
"I'm not looking for a handout," says Scott. "You can count on me to be reliable to be at work, to be productive."
August LoBue is a port employer looking to hire qualified ex-cons at his import-export car company, FAPS."Everybody deserves a chance," says LoBue. "We're going to need an additional workforce and we want to recruit from Newark. We want to identify with our region."