When Ernest Short was growing up in Newark, he didn’t know he would only have to go steps from home to better his life, but that’s what happened. He visited New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI), signed up for training and now has a job he enjoys with a supervisory role.
Short graduated from NCCTI’s Building Trades Specialist program in 2018. He started working for Irvington Housing Authority at the beginning of 2019 as a repair person and then was promoted to head of grounds. The property he works on is large and he is responsible for making sure it has good curb appeal with a manicured lawn and trimmed hedges. As part of his job, he provides other employees assignments as well.
Going through the Building Trades Specialist program prepared Short for his current position and the education was more than just learning the skills of carpentry, electrical and plumbing.
“They have the other part that goes along with it. The critical thinking, cognitive thinking, being able to accept the situation and not crumble,” Short said.
He also saw instructor William Robinson as more than just a teacher.
“He’s also like a father figure,” Short said.
Robinson said Short excelled in the classroom and believes he will have a successful career.
“He was a dedicated student who was always willing to try new things,” Robinson said. “He was very precise and meticulous in all his shop work, which will take him far in his endeavors.”
Short recommends NCCTI to others looking to gain new skills.
“The whole program and everything New Community has to offer people is really good,” he said. “If more people took advantage of it and stepped into the doors and see what they have going on, I think there would be a lot more successes.”
NCCTI Student Services Coordinator/Case Manager Ronald Prysock said Short overcame a number of barriers to complete the Building Trades Specialist program.
“Ernest will do well in his career endeavors because of his determination to succeed,” Prysock said.
In addition to the instruction, NCCTI helps students sign up for services if needed. Short said there were a few students in his class without health insurance who received assistance signing up for it and others who were able to sign up for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.
“We are so proud of Ernest,” said NCCTI Director Rodney Brutton. “He participated in our Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) program by accessing income support services, signing up for medical benefits and meeting one-on-one with our financial coach. NCCTI is proud to count Ernest as an alumni.”
Short still lives in Newark and is a single dad with full custody of his two younger children, a 4-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. He also has an older son who is 19. He’s grateful to be able to provide for his children.
“You can walk into New Community and be helped with all aspects,” Short said. “I’m one of those people. I literally grew up in back of 274 [South Orange Ave.]. I watched them build up. I played on the foundations before Harmony House and before 274. And I ended up walking in those same doors and it helped me get a better outlook on life and get help with life.”
NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business and Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.