Lamont on Working as a Manager in Shipping and Receiving


Our client, Lamont, stopped by to share the great news that he recently found employment as a manager in the shipping and receiving department at a warehouse. He participated in our NJ BUILD program, where he received training on how to use the machinery required for his job. Some of the machines include a cherrypicker, ride-on power jack, sit-down forklift, reach lift, and scissor lift.

“I love my job,” he said. “The program helped me with my resume, which got me in the door.” Through NJ BUILD, he became OSHA certified and was able to add this to his resume, making him a competitive candidate. “NJ BUILD also taught me to cooperate as a team and go forth from there,” he said. Thank you to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Project Impact for their partnership and support.

Grand Opening of Our Client Candido’s Restaurant, El Sabor Del Cafe

We would be honored if you would join with us at the Grand Opening of our client Candido Ortiz’s new restaurant, El Sabor Del Cafe, on Tuesday, December 19, at 11 a.m. The restaurant is located at 31 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305.Pictured above are Candido (right) and JCETP case manager, Rev. Bolivar Flores. Below please find Candido’s personal narrative, as well as a video story about him.
Thank you for your support of our client family.
Candido Ortiz Biography

Candido Ortiz was sentenced to 49 years and six months, he commenced his incarceration in January 1990, and was released pursuant to federal clemency by President Obama in December 2016, as part of an ongoing effort to release prisoners with disproportionately harsh sentences.

While in prison, he enrolled in cooking classes, earning several culinary certifications and soon becoming head cook. In this role, he prepared meals for 1,500 to 2,500 prisoners daily and managed a team of 20 people in the kitchen. Candido believes that his dedication to learning and cooking is what led him to be released 18 years early. Candido’s incarceration also led him to receive a call from God. He became an avid reader of the bible and participated in bible studies with different pastors.

The same month that Candido was released from prison, he enrolled our NJRC/JCETP program, where clients receive addiction treatment, structured sober housing, job training and employment, linkage to legal services and healthcare, and spiritual mentoring. After orientation, clients traditionally receive case management services for a six to nine-month period.

Within a week of completing orientation, Candido was employed as a cook at the Light Rail Café in Jersey City. Having benefitted from our program, Candido says he has already recommended it to others.

Candido continued to seek out his spirituality after his incarceration. He joined a local ministry called Ministerio el Sol Sale Para Todos Internacional, where he was ordained as a reverend. Prior to being ordained, Candido completed three months of intensive training through the ministry. Today, he helps people who are struggling by providing spiritual guidance and referrals to us and other social services.

Most recently, Candido accomplished one of his longtime goals: he opened his own restaurant, where he is the head chef. Located at 31 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Jersey City, it is called El Sabor Del Café. The restaurant features Spanish, American, and international cuisine and offers a la carte, catering, and delivery options.

“Cooking is my life, and I put love into everything I prepare,” Candido said. From the menu, Candido’s top recommendations are the chicken alfredo, shrimp alfredo, and chicken scampi.

Discussing Reentry at Mercer County Community College Lecture Series

Jim had the opportunity to speak about prisoner reentry at Mercer County Community College yesterday, as part of MCCC’s fall 2017 Distinguished Lecture Series. Pictured with him on stage is Tracey Syphax, who spoke at our most recent Reentry Conference in Jersey City. Jim discussed the importance addiction treatment, training and employment, healthcare, legal services, and more for persons returning from incarceration, so that they can successfully reintegrate back into society. Photos by Jim Gardner


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NJRC Holiday Party and Toy Drive


Please join our clients, staff, and advocates at NJRC’s Holiday Party at Martin’s Place (398 MLK Jr. Drive, Jersey City) on Thursday, Dec. 14, from 4 pm to 6 pm to celebrate the season. The event is free and dinner will be provided.

Please consider bringing a toy or check for the sake of the clients’ children. Checks may be made payable to “NJRC Children’s Christmas Toy Fund” or you can deposit a toy at any of our NJRC sites. 

NJRC Toy Drop-Off Locations:

  • JERSEY CITY: 398 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (Martin’s Place)
  • KEARNY: 9 Basin Drive, Suite 190 (Kearny Point)
  • NEWARK: 32 Prince Street (Greater Newark Conservancy)
  • PATERSON: 147 Montgomery Street
  • TOMS RIVER: 310 Main Street, Suite 3B
Toys can be dropped off to any of NJRC’s sites through Friday, December 22, from 9 am to 4 pm.

Please click here for driving directions to our Holiday Party at Martin’s Place, which is located at 398 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Jersey City, NJ 07305.

Austin, Successfully Balancing Work and School

Our new client, Austin, is keeping busy with several positive things on his plate. He is enrolled in the National Career Institute (NCI)’s HVAC training program and also got a new job as a dishwasher, which provides room for growth, along with the schedule flexibility needed to attend classes. Additionally, he is in the Army Reserves. “I took advantage of the program’s resources, like the employment search… I found the restoration process for my license to be the most helpful. I had tickets that I was unaware of, and the program is helping me to get them cleared.” If he could tell other people in his position one thing, he would say, “Don’t be discouraged. Put in the effort and the time to do what you need to do. If you’re determined, goal-oriented, and can commit to one week, this program will benefit you in the long run.”