Face Forward



We are not looking back.  We are Facing Forward!

The Face Forward Urban Youth Empowerment Program's mission is to assist at-risk individuals striving to get back on track by delivering prevention, assessment, intervention, and transition services.  This comprehensive two-year program focuses on young adults between the ages 16 and 24 who have been previously involved in the court system.

With a commitment to connect young people to educational and economic opportunities,  our program also emphasizes skills development so that program participants have the necessary tools to re-invent their futures.


Relevant, Reachable Goals
Unlike many traditional programs that utilize a "top down" approach, Face Forward's participant goals and objectives are self-identified.  Our intake and assessment processes help participants clarify and build upon what is meaningful to them.  Then, we work with them to develop attainable skills and strategies that will empower them to reach their educational and career goals.  

Education Supports

  • Participants are encouraged and given the support they need to pursue their educational goals.  For those in need of their high school diploma, we provide extensive support and GED classes to help them accomplish this milestone achievement.
  • We know that post secondary education is critical to economic success and we provide coaching and other assistance for participants to enroll in college and/or skilled job training. 

Life Skills Education
"Life skills" enable us to be productive, effective and resilient in the face of challenges and difficult situations. We know that our Face Forward participants face a host of tempting, but negative influences in their every day lives.  In addition to building confidence and self-esteem, life skills serve as protective armor against poor choices and their related negative consequences.  

We strive to ensure that participants increase their awareness and are able to apply positive behaviors.  Our curriculum helps them:

  • Recognize and cope with stress
  • Identify the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviors
  • Learn the differences between choices and decisions
  • Practice effective communication, self control and reduce impulsive behaviors
  • Engage in constructive conflict resolution and effective problem solving
  • Develop strategies for coping with real and perceived barriers resulting from ex-offender status

Workforce Readiness Training
ULEC's workforce readiness training provides participants with essential support to successfully get, keep, do well and advance on the job. Clients that adopt and apply the knowledge and strategies improve their short and long term employability. Key training modules include:

  • Resume assistance, dressing for success and interviewing skills
  • Understanding the behavior and other social expectations of the workplace
  • Working well as part of a team to solve problems
  • Being flexible and adapting to different roles in the work environment

Connections to Career Opportunities
We offer specific training for participants to earn industry-recognized certifications that give them a boost as a job candidate in high-demand occupations.  We also work with participants to place them in jobs that reflect their self identified career goals and objectives.

Legal Assistance
Anyone can make a mistake.  Everyone has made mistakes in the past - particularly in our youth.  Our Face Forward program program participants are all striving for a better and brighter future, and to nurture their success, we are committed to helping them start fresh.  Intervention, diversion and expungement strategies and assistance are offered to counter the stigma and barriers to workforce and other economic opportunities that often accompany a criminal record.   

Eligibility Requirements

  • Individuals between the ages of 16 - 24
  • Current or previous involvement in the juvenile justice system
  • No adult convictions


Location: 506 Central Avenue, Newark, NJ  07107


The Face Forward program is ongoing.  Referrals can be made to the Program Director, Ms. Banks at 973-624-9535, x116 or sbanks@ulec.org.


The Face Forward Program is operated in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor.  Face Foward 2 is an equal opportunity program.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request for individuals with disabilities.


Donate Volunteer