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Waterfront Training Center


Waterfront South Training Center

2023 1st Annual Report


It is with great pleasure that we present the 1st Annual Report for the Waterfront South Training Center, a transformative initiative made possible through your generous support. This report outlines the achievements, challenges, and impact of the program during its inaugural year.


Program Overview:

The Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum was founded in 2008 with the mission to preserve the historic Church of our Savior building. Since 2009, the Urban BoatWorks program has successfully engaged 65 to 120 middle and high school students weekly, instilling knowledge in math, science, woodworking, and environmental awareness. The museum, after extensive renovations, opened its doors in September 2016. A strategic planning process, funded by the New Jersey Cultural Trust Institutional Fiscal Stabilization Program, led to the establishment of the Waterfront South Training Center, becoming a vital anchor institution for community development in Camden's Waterfront South neighborhood.


Program Description:

The Waterfront South Training Center welcomed its inaugural class in February 2023, with 10 participants aged 17-27 from public housing developments in Camden. By April 14, 2023, seven participants successfully graduated. By December 22, 2023 we will have conducted four classes with 26 graduates.  The program aims to address the workforce shortage in the construction industry by providing comprehensive carpentry training. As a new program, the job offers came in less than promised.  To help correct that, the Michaels Organization and its subcontractors will conduct a job fair in January, facilitating potential employment opportunities for graduates.


Public Improvements Accomplished:

The carpentry classes have already contributed to public improvements in Camden's Waterfront South neighborhood. Notable projects include a storage shed for the Heart of Camden CDC and The Fellowship House, a secure parcel delivery box for Camden FireWorks Art Studios, and numerous benches and picnic tables for local entities. Negotiations are underway with the Heart of Camden, CDC, to renovate the 420 Jasper Street row home, creating further opportunities for student employment and community development.


Expansion Plans:

In order to guarantee entry levels jobs for graduates the program is expanding its scope to include home restoration and Lead Paint Remediation training, providing additional avenues for student employment. This expansion aligns with the long-term vision of creating apprenticeship programs and spin-off companies for graduates who aspire to become self-starters.


Description of Need:

Camden, with its high poverty rate and low educational attainment, is in critical need of programs like ours. The construction industry, offering ample job opportunities, faces a shortage of skilled professionals, particularly carpenters. The Waterfront South Training Center aims to address this gap, providing Camden residents with valuable skills, job security, and enhanced benefits.



The program conducted four 8-week classes in 2023, with graduating classes in March, June, October, and December, marking significant milestones in achieving its objectives.



The program's budget for 2023 amounted to $88,000, covering equipment costs, student expenses, instructor fees, program administration, and facility use. Your generous contribution has played a crucial role in making this program a success.



As a new program conducting a job training for a group with the highest unemployment rates, the challenges can be difficult.


We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your ongoing support, which has enabled us to make a meaningful impact on the lives of Camden residents. Together, we are building a stronger, more vibrant community.




Jack O’Byrne, PhD

Executive Director

Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum

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