The First Step to Careers

What is the First Step to Careers Initiative?

Working with Atlantic County youth provides a snapshot of their educational and emotional needs. In a story published in Teach for America (TFA), the writer listed the overwhelming challenges faced by local youth who live in a global society: Insufficient employment opportunities, failure to succeed in school, family problems, substance abuse, negative stereotypes, violence, and poverty. The list is in no way conclusive. Each young person who comes to Ideal may be experiencing one or several of the issues mentioned above.

Ideal is faced with a dual challenge to not only provide technical educational opportunities and training that prepare youth for the local workforce but also to provide a caring support system to find solutions for other life issues.

The First Step to Careers is an initiative for youth ages 16-24. Guidelines established by the Atlantic County Workforce Development Board determine eligibility. The First Step Initiative engages young adults through innovative career and technical education pathways that lead to workforce opportunities and financial empowerment. Ideal academically supports and morally uplifts young adults who face life challenges that often stall their opportunity to compete or progress beyond their high school learning experience. Ideal’s First Step to Careers becomes a catalyst to provide a platform for success. Studentsare met where they are and provided tools that equip them to climb, grow, and achieve. Legal troubles, pregnancy, and homelessness are not life sentences of regret, shame, or hopelessness. Ideal’s purpose is to inspire and develop a youth force that will turn what society considers negative experiences in the community into positive impact and influence on the community.

The Path of Student Acceptance into the First Step to Career Initiative (Ren will provide)

Execution of Program


  • Student Recruitment
  • Student provides personal;/family documents to verify eligibility
  • Individual Service Strategy prepared for student which lists goals, outcomes, etc.
  • Training program begins: HESAP or Industry valued credential
  • Certification tests administered
  • Graduation from program
  • Job training skills and job placement assistance provided

Get tuition-free job training in the nation’s fastest-growing industries at Ideal Institute of Technology.Ages 16-24. Start Today. At No Cost.

Study for your high school equivalency and explore career options at the same time!
The First Step to Career and College Program at Ideal Institute of Technology is a no-cost education and career technical training program that helps young people ages 16 to 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training.
Our classes help you develop academic skills in reading, writing, and math by studying content in one of three areas:

  • First Step to a Technology Career– study topics such as Cell Phone repair, Computer repair and website development
  • First Step to a Music and Video Productions Career– study topics such as Logic, Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro and the complete music and video production.
  • First Step to a Business Career– study topics such as Business on EBay and Amazon,entrepreneurship and more…

You may apply to The First Step to Career and College Program by clicking on the following link and filling out the form.
Completing this form will BEGIN your First Step application. To complete an application, you MUST speak with and meet with an Ideal First Step Admissions Representative.
Your application WILL NOT BE FINISHED until you have met with and completed yourapplication with an Admissions Representative.
After you have submitted your information below, you should hear from an Admissions Representative within 3 BUSINESS DAYS.
The First Step to Career and College
Congratulations on your decision to take classes to build your skills and earn a diploma! Please fill out this form to be notified of our next available HSE classes as they become available.
To be eligible to enroll in classes1.

  1. Complete this form (remember to press SUBMIT at the end).
  2. Indicate the time of day you are available to attend a registration session.
  3. Receive an email confirmation.
  4. Attend an information and registration session.
  5. If eligible, return for a second day of registration.

**Please note that the registration process for our free classes is a 2-step process. You will receive more information about the 2nd step when you attend your first day of registration.
Email if you have questions or need help completing this form.
Please complete this form to submit your information for a registration session.

Looking to the Future

When Ideal Institute of Technology began providing educational and job placement services to local youth in 2016, Ideal relied on county contract funding to service the program. Although the contract award remains the economic engine that funds the First Step program today, it is Ideal’s vision and mission to transform it into a financially self-sustaining initiative. Ideal hopes to make this happen by providing real-time employment experiences within Ideal’s student enterprises. These work activities are already underway on a small scale. Ideal has established several initiatives that will provide additional training, real-time work experience, and economic resources for job-ready students. Ideal Institute continually searches for the maximum number of high-skilled jobs in the technology industry that will translate into real-time careers for local youth.

Interested In First Step Program

[wpforms id=”3958″ title=”false” description=”false”]

You will be contacted for the next available registration session. Our intake is a three-step
process, which includes an orientation, a class session in which you’ll learn more about our
the program, and a one-on-one interview with a First Step Program staff member.


Request information