Entrepreneur fosters start-ups in East Orange, free job training in Newark

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on April 17, 2015

EAST ORANGE — Spurring economic development is a two-fold process that includes providing job opportunities, and training students to fill them, according to one city entrepreneur who says he is trying to do just that.

Marland "MJ" Jenkins opened the Evergreen Smart Office Center in East Orange in February. The facility rents out ready-to-use space and equipment to start-ups and small businesses in the city. It currently houses six companies.

"It's about letting companies succeed in this environment," Jenkins said. "It's about building up a local business base in East Orange.

Jenkins, who said he has founded several technology-based companies, is also focusing on finding employees from within Essex County. Starting Apr. 27, Jenkins's "Telecommunications and Marketing" class will be offered as one of the courses in Essex County College's Training, Inc.'s vocational program.

The ECC program, which also includes classes in multimedia music, patient care, and office support, is fully funded by $310,500 in NewarkWORKS grants, and is free for participants, the school said in an announcement about the program.

"These specific job training programs, free to qualified Newark residents, are in rapidly growing telecommunications and multimedia fields, as well as training in the Allied Health fields for which we have provided for a number of years," said Mitra Choudhury, director of Training, Inc.

"Our programs (also) have an outstanding job placement rate."

Jenkins's class is open to 18 to 24-year-olds who are out of school. Anyone interested in joining the class can email info@tem360ges.com or call , he said.

The other classes in the program are geared toward residents in Workfirst New Jersey and other assistance programs in Newark, the school said.

"The ultimate goal of the training is to provide Newark residents with vocational career training that leads to certification and job placement," Curtia Orr, programs manager for Workfirst New Jersey, said in a statement.

Jenkins said he hopes his class will take it one step further - he wants to train local residents to fill local jobs.

"One day, I hope the kids we train can be working in (ESOC)," he said. "Starting businesses, working in the technology and communication fields; that's where the future is and it can be here in Newark and East Orange."

Get more information about Essex County College's Training, Inc. Program at 973-877-3598.

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