Hopeworks Camden helps young people gain the skills they need to succeed

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Hopeworks Camden helps young people gain the skills they need to succeed. Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News at 6 a.m. on October 14, 2018.

Our modern world is dominated by technology, and in New Jersey there's an organization that's "Powering Up" the next generation of workers.

They are helping local youth gain the skills they need to succeed in life and in the future.

Hopeworks Camden recently celebrated the opening of a brand new location.

The event, a key milestone for the non-profit, which has been busy training and guiding local youth for the last 17 years.

The new office space in downtown Camden has rows of computers.

It's a far cry from their early beginnings inside a row home.

"Father Jeff Puthott, the founder, put together some computers, set up a network and started figuring it out. And from those humble beginnings, literally in one room in a row home in North Camden, we've been able to build an organization that can affect hundreds of lives," says Dan Rhoton, Executive Director of Hopeworks Camden.

Hopeworks is proud to say they have changed more than 3,000 lives since inception. For students like Alex, who eventually wants to be a teacher, she loves the program.

"Opportunities here are awesome, there's academics, internships, anything you ask for the opportunity is here," she says.

Hopeworks' focus is helping people whose lives have not gone to plan.

"Young people are struggling to turn their lives around. We do that by training them and employing them in technology and then help them move on to the next step," says Rhoton.

Those next steps could be working with a local company using drones and doing computer mapping, to working on things like web design with one of the non-profit's local partners.

For Camden resident Chad Bell, learning the different graphic design software programs will help him reach his dream of owning his own business.

"My main goal is to open my own tattoo shop, and this will help me out by giving different angles of it. Like more perspective for what people that might come in the shop one day and what they want," Bell says.

For those at Hopeworks, it's all about growth, both personal and professional.

"It's all these individual stories we see growth in every single person we work with, from when the time they walk-in to their first internship and then beyond," says Kate Daugherty, Community Impact at Hopeworks Camden.

And the new facility will be a launching pad for the future.

"This new space not only allows us to double the number of young people, more importantly, this is what the employer's that are hiring, this is what their workspace looks like. This is what our workspace looks like. It means our youth are going to be ready for that next job," Rhoton says.

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