Preparing Students For Success In Today’s Workplace

Project Life is a youth employment program whose mission is to prepare young people between the ages of 14 and 18 for the world of work. This is done through classroom instruction during the winter and spring and internships during the summer. The winter/spring program consists of a 10-week program during which students attend classes at Montclair State University to prepare them to be competitive professionals in our economy. Classes meet once a week for 2 hours on a Friday night and include business education, entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy, résumé writing, dressing for success, business plan writing, and more. 

At the end of the program students are more knowledgeable about the job market and work force; have a better understanding of organizational team work; and are better prepared to present themselves to prospective employers. They are also able to write a professional résumé and complete work applications.

Once students graduate from the winter/spring program, they can interview for employment from a database of summer jobs solicited by the Project Life team. If selected for employment, the interns will be paid minimum wage or higher, depending on the employer. If the employer is happy with the quality of the intern's work, they may extend the job beyond the summer.

In 2017, students worked at Montclair Township Recreation & Cultural Affairs, Salvation Army, Toni's Kitchen, Mountainside Hospital, Judge Anthony Fresco - Montclair Municipal Court, Farmer's Insurance, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair Public Library, Dr. Alfred Davis-Integrated Medicine, Montclair Township Section 8, Montclair Neighborhood Day Care Center, Montclair Grass Roots Summer Camp, Fitness at Bloomfield, United Way, Montclair Child Development Center. Read how Diamond and Khalid succeeded, thanks to this program.

Most of the 14 and 15-year-olds work in the Project Life Entrepreneurial program running a business during the summer. Past participants ran the concession stand during Project Oasis, a 6-week summer program. This enabled them to learn how to start the business, shop and market the products, price, and, finally, dismantle the business. After all expenses are paid, the team shares in the profit.

PARTNER WITH US

We are always looking for businesses to partner with us by providing jobs during the summer. If you are interested call us at 973-744-9094

Project Life Brochure

To register for 2017 Project Life,

Board member Kevin Allen presents a Certificate of Completion to a student for the Project Life program.
 

ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

Chelsea Wilkins is the kind of girl to make a mom proud. That goes for those who worked with her over the years at MNDC, too. She’s currently deciding which college to attend next fall, but she wasn’t always on that path.

In elementary school, Chelsea struggled. She would often get pulled out of her regular classes for special instruction. This continued into middle school, only by then she was acting out, responding with anger to her teachers and refusing to finish her work. It wasn’t until one particular teacher got involved with Chelsea’s situation that things started to shift. He saw her potential and as she puts it, was “always on her case”. He uncovered the family issues that were fueling her anger and encouraged her to let go of it. Perhaps it was his persistence or his sharing of his own situation but somehow he got through. Chelsea made an about face and by 8th grade was achieving honor roll and continuing the trend through high school.

During that time, though, she continued to need support and, thankfully, was introduced to MNDC. She was simply handing in paperwork for her younger brothers to attend MNDC’s basketball camp when she met Ms. Spears, MNDC Director of Program Services & Case Management. Elaine Spears mentioned MNDC’s Project Life program that provides high school youth with summer jobs. Eager to make some money, Chelsea signed on and starting working as a counselor at a nearby summer camp.

The following year, she worked at MNDC’s basketball camp. Seeing Chelsea’s strong work ethic, Ms. Spears recruited her to work with MNDC on various fundraisers. One moment she’ll never forget is giving out Christmas presents to families in the community and having to make an impromptu speech to them. With knees knocking, Chelsea did it and has continued working on her public speaking, most recently by taking a speech class at school.

Looking back at the impact MNDC has had on her life, Chelsea says the programs and Ms. Spears played a huge role. She took classes to learn life skills covering topics she wouldn’t have learned elsewhere. And being the kind of person that Ms. Spears is, she often checked in with Chelsea to see how she could help. When she needed a quiet place to do homework (with 2 younger brothers, home was often noisy) or a printer to use, Ms. Spears gladly offered to let her settle in at the MNDC office.

Chelsea plans to go into the medical field in some capacity; her ultimate dream is to become a doctor. To position her on that pathway, she took AP Anatomy & Physiology this year and is succeeding. Although college is a big next step, she is ready for the challenge, thanks to MNDC and all those who supported her along the way.