New Community-ShopRite Partners In Training Program
Marks Its Milestone 100th Class

New Community’s Gateway to Work program has helped thousands of Newark residents secure and maintain employment. On September 29, the initiative celebrated an important anniversary with the formation of the ShopRite Training Program’s 100th class.

Since September 2000, the program has trained inner-city residents to work at ShopRite supermarkets in suburban locations. More than 800 people have graduated from ShopRite Training since it began, and more than 100 of those graduates are currently employed in various ShopRite stores in a variety of jobs at the Northern New Jersey ShopRite stores. Most began as cashiers, but many have been promoted to other jobs, including managerial positions.

The ShopRite Training Program has maintained its mission as an educational gateway to employment for individuals who rely upon welfare as their primary source of income. The program has always been a collaborative effort between Wakefern Food Corporation, which owns ShopRite, and Gateway to Work.

“This milestone is a tribute to the hard work and dedication that the Gateway to Work staff has done over the years,” said Marty Glass, Senior Manager of Human Resources for the Wakefern Food Corporation and Coordinator of the Partners-in-Training Programs. The Wakefern Corporation sent flowers to the Gateway to Work staff to commemorate the 100th ShopRite class and the work of NCC on behalf of the program.

Eight years ago, the program’s original partners were ShopRite supermarkets in Clark and Hillside, but the network of participating supermarkets has extended to include stores in Bloomfield, East Orange, Elizabeth, Kearny, Linden, Livingston, Milburn, Nutley, Springfield, West Caldwell and West Orange.

Associates train at the New Community facility on Morris Avenue in Newark, which is set up as a miniature supermarket and uses a computer-based curriculum. All trainees are pre-screened by NCC Gateway to Work staff.

“I am very proud of my staff which does an exceptional job with training, job placement and providing support services to our Associates in training and after training,” said Jo-Ann Laurel, NCC Gateway to Work’s Director.

The Gateway to Work staff consists of the Assistant Program Administrator, Marilyn Jackson; the Senior Job Placement Specialist, Mike Jackson; the Job Plus Counselor/Coordinators, Vondas White and De’Borah Stewart; Instructors Jacqueline Bowen, Ebony Mckennie and Claudette Goode; and clerical support employees Martha Davis and De’Shaunn Venable.

“We are helping people to change their lives for the better and we anticipate that we will continue this great work when it comes to celebrating our 200th class,” noted Ms. Laurel.

The ShopRite Partners in Training Program began with an uplifting ceremony and ribbon cutting on a beautiful day in September 2000. Ever since ShopRite executives, Essex Councy officials, and New Community employees have worked hard to ensure the success of the program and to provide support services to all of those who have graduated and gone on to work in stores.

There is an annual recognition breakfast to honor program graduates that excel on the job. This year’s event will take place on December 5th.

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