ShopRite is slated to open a new supermarket in Newark—creating hundreds of jobs—and New Community Workforce Development Center is working feverishly to prepare job seekers to get hired when the store opens in 2015.
Under the direction of Rodney Brutton, NCC Director of Workforce Development, New Community has resurrected its Gateway-To-Work Supermarket Career Program, which trains job seekers, also called Associates, in ShopRite’s computer-based systems and store operation procedures.
NCC has struck a deal with Wakefern Food Corporation, the parent company for ShopRite stores, to train Associates and, in turn, Wakefern will provide the curriculum and outfit a training facility housed at NCC on Morris Avenue in Newark, Brutton said.
The training will be funded through a $110,000 grant awarded by the City of Newark, he added.
The supermarket chain expects that the 67,000-square-foot grocery store, located near Springfield Avenue and Jones Street, will create nearly 400 full and part-time jobs.
Partnering with Wakefern and the city, New Community will offer a six- to eight-week training program at NCC’s ShopRite Training Center, where Associates who successfully finish will be able to land a job at an area ShopRite, including the highly anticipated new store.
“Bringing together the public workforce system (Newark Workforce Investment Board/One-Stop Career Center), a local training provider and a major employer is the ideal model in developing workforce partnerships,” Brutton said. “It does not get any better than this.”
The Gateway-To-Work Supermarket Career Program will take place Monday through Friday, with both morning and afternoon sessions offered in the classroom as well as hands-on training. Associates will be trained in cashiering, food service and customer service. Interested applicants must be at least 18 years old, pass a drug test, have a high school diploma or GED or be currently working towards obtaining a GED, and pass an entrance exam.
During the weeks of training, Associates will also be paired with a Workforce staff member who will assist in providing support services and conduct follow-ups to ensure an Associate’s success after he or she lands a job. The goal of New Community’s Gateway-To-Work program is to provide Associates with a rapid transition to work model, which stresses immediate job readiness.
The supermarket chain’s Newark store has been under construction for several months and is located on Springfield Avenue, between Jones and Prince streets, directly across from NCC Commons Senior. Once completed, ShopRite will serve as the anchor tenant of what’s been dubbed as Newark’s largest new retail development, which is also slated to include 150 residential apartments.
City officials say they hope the area will become a retail hub for the Central Ward. The 11-acre parcel where ShopRite will open has been vacant for more than 20 years.
Neil Greenstein, president of the new ShopRite of Newark, said in a statement that “It is an ideal time to open a supermarket here.”
“This is a homecoming of sorts for Wakefern, which located its first warehouse in Newark in 1946,” said Greenstein, a third generation grocer who also owns and operates the ShopRite of Brookdale in Bloomfield.