JERSEY CITY—Former Governor Jim McGreevey was joined by officials from all over New Jersey in Jersey City today to unveil the newly modernized facility for the Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCETP) that will fill one of the long-vacant buildings at Sacred Heart Church.
McGreevey, who resigned from his position as Governor in 2004 in the face of scandal, now works as the Executive Director of the JCETP. The organization’s mission is to help former prisoners re-enter society after they are released.
“Everyone deserves a second chance,” he said. “We are going to make this a community. This will be a good place to be.”
The building—which will replace the current community resource center—will be an all-inclusive facility for those facing re-entry. In addition to housing, it will provide welfare counseling on site, Medicaid counseling, free legal services from 56 lawyers who have signed on to do work pro-bono, addiction counseling, drug treatment, and employment and training programs. Partners include Martin’s Place and Integrity House, two non-profit organizations dedicated to helping people after they leave correctional facilities.
The JCETP will be administering workforce development funds on behalf of the City of Jersey City. According to Mayor Steve Fulop, the partnership shows a strong commitment from Jersey City to help those facing re-entry.
“Once again Jersey City and the JCETP program are leaders on the issue of prisoner re-entry and parole services,” Fulop said. “This is an exciting day for Jersey City and Hudson County. “
For the once-embattled former Governor McGreevey, the presence of officials like Mayor Fulop, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno, Union City Mayor Brian Stack and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGuise at his event demonstrates that he is, once again, gaining political allies in the state.
“We are indebted to the Governor and the Chairman of the Parole Board, Jim Plousis, for recognizing our efforts,” he said. “Today, on behalf of the clients we serve, I would like to express my gratitude to the Mayor and County Executive for making this dream a reality.”
According to McGreevey, it was through the faith entrusted to him by Mayor Fulop—a rumored 2017 gubernatorial candidate—that his goal of helping those facing re-entry became a reality.
“He believed in me despite some controversy I faced in 2005,” McGreevey said of Fulop. “This city is blessed partially because of the Mayor. When no one was talking about re-entry, he decided to make it a cornerstone of his platform.”
For Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno, the new facility demonstrates former Governor McGreevey’s dedication to Governor Chris Christie’s commitment to re-entry.
“This is about giving people who have the desire to have help, the help they want,” she said. “This is not about Republican or Democrat. This is because we are all people.”
After his resignation in 2004, McGreevey became a seminarian. He started volunteering with Integrity House as a spiritual counselor before eventually being appointed the head of JCETP in 2013. The new facility is located at the Dominican Priory on Martin Luther King Avenue and is affiliated with the Archdiocese of Newark.