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Working Together

Working Together From the pages of South Jersey Biz magazine...

Unlike past generations, today’s workers may change jobs or even industries several times throughout their career. For example, “Ashley” was a part of a hedge fund team. She worked such long hours she bought a cot for her office. Two years after starting this job, she took a year off to re-energize and happily accepted a waitressing job. “Richard” loves his job as CFO at a manufacturing facility, but dreads when his company hires. New hires are often the wrong fit, which makes a dent in the company’s finances.

Whether you’re Ashley or Richard, the following South Jersey work programs can help you.

The Gloucester County Workforce Development Board
The board’s mission is to unite job seekers and employers to provide both with an opportunity to expand. The board’s American Job Center includes career counselors who aid in developing a job search action plan, among others services. Further, training certifications for certified nursing assistants, among others, are available.

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“Throughout the year we will be holding workshops to help individuals enhance their résumé and interviewing skills,” explains Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert Damminger.

• Methodology. The Gloucester County Workforce Development Board matches a job seeker with an employer via Gloucester County job fairs and recruitment events. This year, there were four job fairs and several recruitment events, which served more than 2,500 people and introduced jobseekers to more than 130 different companies. Further, the job fairs led to more than 160 hires by several companies, including Coca-Cola.

• Employer/economic benefits. The Board offers these hiring incentives to businesses: a federal tax credit for hiring veterans and differently abled or general assistance individuals; up to half of a new employee’s gross wages for up to 26 weeks to aid in defraying employment training costs; and a registered apprenticeship program that helps fund the first six months of an employer’s apprenticeship program.

“Events such as the Gloucester County Job Fair, community outreach sessions and employer recruitments connect Gloucester County’s talented workers with employers looking to hire and are a critical part of our efforts to strengthen our economy,” says Freeholder Heather Simmons, Liaison to Economic Development.

Joseph Jingoli & Son Training-to-Hire Program
This free, 12-week program, which wrapped in late June, trained 15 Atlantic City residents—ages 19 to 52—who had no prior experience on construction work (HVAC basics, electrical work, etc.) with a guarantee of jobs with either Joseph Jingoli & Son or subcontractors who will begin work on the new South Jersey Gas Headquarters in Atlantic City and the Stockton University Boardwalk campus.

“Our goal is to have these individuals on a particular starting job long enough that they create a career path for themselves and become long-term, committed members of unions,” explains Joseph Jingoli & Son’s Community Outreach Coordinator Robert Lee. “Once they display their ability and demonstrate the value they bring to the job, the union shops find them jobs throughout the region.”

• Methodology. Both faith-based and civic organizations identified the 15 residents, who Lee then screened and selected.

• Employer/local economic benefits. “It benefits the unions because they get skilled workers to add to their rosters,” Lee explains. “The benefit to the local economy is simple—the program is putting people to work, so they can support themselves and their families, while learning a new trade.”

The Training-to-Hire program is currently looking for trainees for its fall program.

JEVS South Jersey Career Strategies
Career Strategies is a partnership between JEVS Human Services and Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Southern NJ, two regional nonprofits in the social services arena. JEVS offers career services for the unemployed, underemployed or those interested in changing careers. The South Jersey program is in its infancy (it’s not quite a year old) and serves Gloucester, Burlington and Camden counties. It provides job placement assistance, career counseling, skill workshops, such as one-on-one interviewing, and job search skills (using LinkedIn, for example) for a sliding scale fee of up to $90. (That said, no client is turned away regardless of age or ability to pay, JEVS says.) The typical client age range is 45 to 55. In terms of the jobs themselves, Peggy Truitt, manager of special programs at JEVS says some typical positions the program fills are administrative and middle management.

“First, we help our clients determine what it is they want to do. For some, it is to get reemployed in their field, others want to try something new,” Truitt explains. “After this determination has been made, we move forward with assessing the job marketplace to find out the likelihood of success. This way, we can provide clients with realistic expectations and also, in some cases, show them other employment opportunities or ways to transfer their skills and experience.”

• Methology. Through a rigorous screening process, Career Strategies provides assessments that help determine career areas to consider, pursue or investigate further.

“Employers know that JEVS, in general, has a pool of people who are looking for employment, so very frequently they come to us with their job openings,” explains Truitt. “We take this responsibility very seriously, so we’ll only refer candidates whom we think will do an excellent job.”

• Employer/economic benefits. Employers return to JEVS because they value the Career Strategies’ employee screening and “right” match mentality, which is provided free of charge to them, Truitt says.

“With small companies, in particular, they might not have a huge HR department, so having us do the initial leg work for them and for free is a huge benefit to them,” she explains. “In addition, we track employee retention for up to 30 days to see whether our clients need further support, and we follow up with the employers as well.”

New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development
All 19 New Jersey community colleges joined to form this program in 2004. Through the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Southern NJ Development Counsel and business organizations, such as the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, it provides more than 1,700 training programs to enable the unemployed—typically those ages 20 to 50—to obtain full-time work. Training programs are developed from grants for which the program applies and, thus, are at no cost to anyone involved. The program determines training programs based on employer need.

“We find commonly required competencies for the employers in a specific area, such as Burlington County, for example, and then provide training for those competencies, so those in the program have the skills needed to compete for and, ultimately, get hired for jobs,” explains CEO Sivaraman (Anbar) Anbarasan.

In the 12 years the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development has been in existence, it has trained nearly 150,000 people who have been hired by more than 6,400 New Jersey employers, Sivaraman says.

• Methodology. To ensure the right employee-to-employer match, program coordinators place unemployed individuals into the programs’ system and then divvy them up by skill level and interest into the most appropriate training programs, Sivaraman explains.

“In addition to the training programs, we place them [unemployed individuals] into workshops that help with résumé creation, networking, personal marketing to potential employers and job searching,” he says.

• Employer/local economic benefits. Sivaraman says employers “keep coming back” to the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development for employees because they get well-trained, qualified and committed employees, which minimizes a wrong hire and, thus, lost productivity. Further, he says the program offers a salary subsidy, which can be up to $10,000.

Resources ready to help
Whether you’re looking for a career change like “Ashley” or to improve the likelihood of a “right” hire, like “Richard,” the aforementioned programs are ready and eager to help.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 6, Issue 7 (July, 2016).
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Author: Jennifer Kirby

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