Atlantic City Beach

Before You Go – Jersey Cape Deserves a ‘Badge’ of Honor for Helping Disadvantaged Individuals

Beach tags are a big part of New Jersey’s shore-town culture. Tourists and residents alike use the tags to gain access to the numerous beaches spanning the state’s coastline, and the tags themselves showcase each individual town’s unique identity though the imagery printed on them. 

Jersey Cape, a non-profit Cape May Court House-based tag manufacturer, aims to afford towns an opportunity to express themselves through their beach tags each year.

“Each town has its own story that it wants to tell with its tag,” says Brian Fitzgerald, director of operations at Jersey Cape. “We really started to [embrace] the idea of showcasing a town’s culture in [tag] designs and really depicting what makes that town unique.” 

“It is fun for us when towns are enthusiastic about their design. We have some towns that are already looking ahead to [their] 2020 [tags],” adds Anne Garrison, associate executive director.

Jersey Cape was started in 1973 in order to provide employment and training to disabled individuals. At the time, Cape May County lacked an employment training service, and the original founders felt that Jersey Cape could fill the void. The goal was to provide jobs and job training for any resident who had a barrier to finding employment and developing a career. 

The original business model consisted of “custom contract packaging,” but eventually shifted to a more growth-friendly and sustainable model – the manufacturing of beach tags. The decision to begin manufacturing its own product in order to accommodate for the growing number of residents seeking employment assistance paid off, as Jersey Cape has become the largest tag manufacturer in the country.

“About 98 percent of the beach towns in New Jersey use our beach tags,” says Jersey Cape Executive Director Joseph Sittineri. He adds that up to 30,000 tags are produced at the facility each day.

“Over the past two years, we’ve really ramped up the focus on our marketing, and – as a result – we have been able to expand more throughout the country,” Sittineri says. In addition to beach tags, Jersey Cape also manufactures and sells tags and badges for a variety of other uses, including pools, lakes, festivals, weddings, sporting events and more.

Jersey Cape has 35 employees as well as approximately 65 production staff members. Sittineri says that one of the company’s goals is to provide employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals, and adds that [Jersey Cape] provides employment training services to roughly 300 people each month. This can include assisting with packaging, delivering and physically putting pins on each tag.

“The individuals that we serve are the most vulnerable, including those that are disabled, on government assistance, and at-risk youth,” Sittineri says. “There weren’t that many opportunities for employment here in Cape May County, so we have been targeting these vulnerable individuals to get them trained [and potentially jumpstart a career].”

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