Masks & Dancing Fun at Eport Center Masquerade Fundraiser

Masks & Dancing Fun at Eport Center Masquerade Fundraiser

i Jun 26th No Comments by

eport mardi gra 2On Friday June 27, 2014, the Eport Center Board of Trustees and staff were joined by guests, sponsors and local supporters to celebrate the 1st Annual Masquerade Party featuring Mardi Gras inspired fun!

Fun was had by all as many donned their elaborate and colorful masks and danced to great music from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

The event was held at the newly opened Embassy Suites Elizabeth-Newark Airport Hotel.  There were no speeches, just great music, dancing, and networking!

Proceeds from this event were used to support the Eport Center youth programs.

Eport Mardi Gras June 27


Wakefern Joins On-The-Job-Training Initiative as Employer Committed to Employee Union County Residents

i May 7th No Comments by

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAElizabeth Development Company and Eport Center Working With Two of Wakefern’s Warehouse Facilities 

Visit Eport Center Photo Album

Keasby and Elizabeth, Union County, NJ ~ In March and early April Wakefern hosted job recruitment fairs at two of its warehouse locations including Keasbey, NJ and Elizabeth, NJ.  Both locations attracted more than 40 Union County applicants hoping to land on-the-job-training (OJT) opportunities in the warehouses.  The unemployed applicants were seeking jobs in warehousing through an OJT initiative administered by the Elizabeth Development Company in partnership with the Elizabethport Presbyterian Center (Eport Center), Union County Workforce Investment Board and the City of Elizabeth.

The Wakefern Food Corp., founded in 1946 and based in Keasbey, New Jersey, is the largest retailer owned co-operative in the United States and one of the largest employers in New Jersey.[1]  Its 50 members own and operate their own stores under the ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer banners. With more than 250 ShopRite supermarkets located throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland, ShopRite serves more than five million customers each week.

EDC and Eport Center have partnered with Wakefern to find Union County resident seeking jobs and careers within its warehouse division. Newly hired OJT employees will also receive support services as they train in the new warehouse positions.

Since the program began in the summer of 2013, EDC has identified three growth industries as its focus to help unemployed Union County residents find on-the-job-training opportunities, which include, warehousing, hospitality, and customer service.  In this instance, EDC partnered with Wakefern to match unemployed residents with a major employer and offer warehousing jobs.  

Following are photos taken during the job recruitment fairs at Wakefern’s Keasbey and Elizabeth, NJ locations.

Visit Eport Center Facebook photo album

UPDATE: County-wide On-The-Job Training Initiative

i Feb 25th No Comments by

UPDATE: County-wide On-The-Job Training Initiative

Major Employer, Embassy Suites Elizabeth-Newark Airport, Joins EDC’s Initiative & Recruits New Workers

OJT placements pose as they complete the EDC orientation program. Brian Martin is seen second from left and Maria Pynn, far right.

Prior to the grand opening, Embassy Suites Elizabeth-Newark Airport hosted a job fair with EDC’s social services partner the Eport Center, for unemployed Union County residents who were interested in preparing and interviewing for jobs with the new hotel located in Elizabeth, NJ.  Over 50 residents attended. Over 40 positions, ranging from Front Desk Agents to Engineers, were available for interviews as attendees were introduced to career opportunities at this hotel.  In addition to Embassy’s career opportunity presentation, attendees learned interviewing techniques, dress-for-success tips, career goal setting, and letter-writing techniques. Attendees were then scheduled for one-on-one interviews with Embassy Suites management.

Since the program began in the summer of 2013, EDC has identified three growth industries as its focus to help unemployed Union County residents find on-the-job-training opportunities, which include, warehousing, hospitality, and customer service.  In this instance, EDC partnered with Embassy Suites in Elizabeth to match unemployed residents with a major employer and offer Hospitality and Customer Service jobs.   Now that the hotel is open, it is providing promising career opportunities to over 40 Union County residents.  Following are comment by two of the over 40 successful EDC OJT placements and are now Embassy Suites new Front Desk Agents.

Maria V. Pynn, first came to the US in 2008 from Ecuador and obtained her citizenship.  As a married 49-year-old Elizabeth resident for over 6 years, she was referred to EDC’s OJT program through friends who saw a flyer about the Hospitality course offered at the Union County College – Retail Skills Center (an EDC program partner).  Mrs. Pynn was unemployed for nearly a year and decided to pursue a career in hospitality due to her history of working at the Marriot in Quito, Ecuador. “This is a really good experience and the orientation workshop at the Eport Center was really good. Thanks to EDC, I was able to learn hospitality skills at the Retail Skills Center and am looking forward to my new job.  My experience at EDC was warm and friendly and the partners really are trying to help people get jobs.  It’s great,” stated Pynn.  She continues, “I hope to become a manager at Embassy Suites and plan to work hard to do so.”

Brian Martin, 21, is also a new Front Desk Agent and will work inside Embassy Suites helping guests check in and out.  Mr. Martin is a single father of a 2-year-old child and has lived in Elizabeth, NJ for only three months while learning about new opportunities in Union County. A friend who resides in Union County referred Mr. Martin to the OJT program.  “EDC took the time to make sure I had everything I needed. They processed my paperwork for the training program and offered me an opportunity to attend the job fair and land this job.  They did this while being very down to earth which made me feel very comfortable when I had to ask them for help and guidance,” says Mr. Martin about staff at the EDC.  Martin continues, “I look forward to working really hard to reach a management position and help guests enjoy their stay. This opportunity will really help me learn while earning an income. That was very important for me to help support my daughter and I.”

“This initiative is very important to all of us in Union County because it means providing people with not only jobs, but also a start to a new career in a promising industry. In a time when our economy is rebounding I’m excited to have this public and private partnership to improve the quality of life and improve our communities. I am excited that Embassy Suites Elizabeth-Newark Airport has joined our ranks as one of our dedicated employers,” states Sergio Granados, Union County Freeholder and liaison to the Union County Workforce Investment Board.

About the Elizabeth Development Company and the OJT Initiative

EDC launched this new initiative to help train and fill the jobs of local employers and help residents gain employment.  The new initiative is specifically for qualifying Union County residents, such as displaced workers, veterans, and/or homemakers re-entering the workforce.  There are many benefits to the program for local small businesses and large corporations.  Under the OJT program, employers receive wage subsidies of up to half of a new employee’s gross wages. This can go on for up to 26 weeks to help defray the costs of their employment training.  They may even qualify for a Work Opportunity Tax Credit — up to $5,000 over 2 years and they may use their OJT program to help fund the first 6 months of an apprenticeship program for qualified participants.  The initiative is funded by Union County Freeholder’s Workforce Investment Board, City of Elizabeth Community Development Block Grant and Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit through NJ Department of Community Affairs.  The Elizabeth Development Company is actively seeking employers who are willing to hire and train residents seeking employment.  Employers interested in more information about the OJT program may call Fatimah Raymond, Program Director at the Elizabeth Development Company at 908-289-0262 or email

About Embassy Suites Elizabeth-Newark Airport (Source

Located just off the New Jersey Turnpike and within walking distance to The Outlet Collection at Jersey Gardens, the Embassy Suites Elizabeth-Newark Airport hotel is just moments from Newark Airport (EWR). The hotel is 30 minutes from Downtown Manhattan and Times Square and just 17 minutes from Liberty State Park. Enjoy easy access to cruise ports, sporting arenas, concert venues and NYC attractions when you stay at this all-suite hotel in Elizabeth, NJ.  Settle into a stylish, two-room suite with a separate living room with a sofa bed. Enjoy modern amenities, including a mini-refrigerator, a microwave and two HDTVs and work in comfort at the flexible work area with WiFI (additional charge)and remote printing. Start your day at this Newark Airport hotel with a free, cooked-to-order breakfast and enjoy American classics in The Grille. Unwind after your meal with a drink in the spacious Lobby Bar.  Host events with 4,000 sq ft of flexible meeting space and stay connected in the complimentary BusinessLink™ Business Center. Our dedicated staff will be happy to help organize A/V equipment and catering options, to ensure your event is a success. Work out with the latest Precor®equipment in the Fitness Center or swim in the sparkling indoor pool with whirlpool. Meet friends and relax by the fireplace in the inviting atrium lobby, where you can enjoy our complimentary Evening Reception with complimentary beverages* and appetizers.

Summer Teen Program A Huge Success

i Sep 27th No Comments by

Mayor.FarmstandFor years, the Center has offered a variety of summer camp programs for local youth but during the past summer gained attention for its expanded teen program.  Fifteen teens successfully completed our Pathways to Success program which sported the tag line “Smart is the New Swag.”

One of the most popular program components was the annual Farm Stand.  Our youth sold fresh fruits and vegetables to the community at two convenient locations.  This activity taught the teens how to start a business, accounting, operations, marketing and public relations.  The Farm Stand kicked off at a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, at City Hall Plaza, with Mayor J. Christian Bollwage and Councilman At Large Manny Grova.

“Eport Center’s Pathways to Success Farm Stand is an excellent program that promotes nutrition and healthy eating to communities through Elizabeth, while giving teens’ valuable hands-on experience that will improve their personal development and feed their entrepreneurial spirit”, said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage.  “I would like to thank the Elizabethport Presbyterian Center for their commitment to implementing this program and providing this service to the community.”

In addition to the Farm Stand, the program had such features as a book club, weekly motivational speakers and academically-rich field trips.  Some of our outings included Princeton University tour, The Museum of American Finance and Comcast TV studios.

“Pathways to Success was run like a gifted and talented program meaning that we looked to provide engaging activities and experiences that stimulated the teens’ minds and build character.  We want these young people to go forth and flourish, to ultimately become elite leaders in business and community,” stated Karla Spivey Bouie, the Center’s executive director.

Funding for this program was provided by the Central Presbyterian Church of Summit and the New Jersey Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee administered by the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission.

Back to School Night 2013

i Sep 27th No Comments by

Parents pose to take pic

Back to School Night was held on Thursday, September 26th.  Thirty-seven families attended this event. Our teachers and staff discussed with our preschool families the importance of daily attendance, goals & objectives of our program, classroom schedules & rules of operation, student growth objectives, developmental assessments, mandatory health screenings and parent/family workshops & trainings.

The Neighborhood Health Care Services (which is located in our building) gave a brief presentation on their on-site services with a particular emphasis on pediatrics and family medicine.  All parents/caregivers received, from our family workers, packages with information on parenting skills, handling conflict behavior and language & literacy skills.

“After one year of being fully operational, our new state-of-the-art classrooms offer the best sources for educational achievement for preschoolers,” proudly stated by Donna Scott, the Center’s director of Abbott programs.

In an addition, to the traditional school day, our families have access to a multitude of services offered by the Eport Pres Center, including a family resource room with computers, community meeting room and referrals to the on-site medical suite.