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FOR JOBSEEKERS

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LABOR ANALYSIS

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EMPLOYMENT SURVEY: WHAT DO JOB SEEKERS WANT?

The Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board (GRWDB) has launched an Employment Survey to better understand what job seekers in Hunterdon and Somerset counties are thinking right now.

The survey, open to all, can be accessed on the GRWDB web site here.

This 19-question survey will take two to four minutes to complete. All responses will remain anonymous and will be shared with GRWDB board and committee members to help plan future strategies and possible program directions for career-related services offered to residents and employers in Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

The survey is being sent out to residents of the two counties who have received unemployment benefits in the past 11 months as well as job seekers who have participated in virtual information recruitment sessions hosted throughout the year by system partners working with local employers.

In addition, residents of both counties are invited to fill out the survey, which will be accessible through the first week of January 2022.

The idea for the survey came from a discussion with a GRWDB board member, who is trying to understand what is motivating job seekers to turn down offers and for existing employees to walk away from positions.

The Greater Raritan workforce system connects job seekers and employers in Hunterdon and Somerset counties to create and sustain career pathways and robust economic opportunity. Weekly text updates highlight career and job opportunities in the two counties; text “onestop” to 565-12 to sign up. Additional information on career-development programs offered by the partners of the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board can be found on www.thegrwdb.org or call 908-541-5790.

OUR MISSION AND THE SERVICES OF GREATER RARITAN'S SYSTEM PARTNERS

Through policy, oversight, and planning The Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board ensures that workforce training and education are responsive to and meet the needs of employers and job seekers.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, your local workforce system, serving Hunterdon and Somerset counties, has continued to evolve how it provides services and reaches out to the community about those services. The GRWDB is part of statewide workforce system that connects employers and residents to a range of in-person and virtual career-related services, including the tens of thousands of open positions available in New Jersey.

Working with the Somerset County Public Information Office, system partners collaborated on videos to explain our mission, vision and services for employers and job seekers in these ever-changing times.

Go here to hear about our services for employers. Employers also can go to the resources/employers tab on our website for more links and information.

Go here to hear about our services for job seekers. Job seekers also can go to the resources / job seekers tab on our website for more links and information.

Go here to hear about the Youth Employment Services (YES) Program.

The Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board and its partners offer a variety of free programs and resources to assist job seekers. This includes assistance with job search, resume reviews, career counseling, career-related webinars and workshops, information on training grants for unemployed and underemployed individuals, and connection to career services for low-income residents. Additional free resources available in Hunterdon and Somerset counties are the Greater Raritan Resume Portal, SkillUp Greater Raritan, and a local literacy connection guide. Local partners also offer free literacy classes throughout the year, and state partners regularly host Virtual Information Sessions for companies hiring in the two counties.

More information on GRWDB and system partners programs is available on the Events/Calendar tab of www.thegrwdb.org/.

Service models offered by Greater Raritan One-Stop partners reflect what is happening and is wanted by customers today, with hybrid models offering appointment in-person services along with the virtual suite of services developed by partners since the pandemic began.

The Greater Raritan One-Stop Career Training Services Center at 27 Warren St. in Somerville is open to in-person service; appointments are encouraged but customers who walk in will be accommodated as staffing levels permit. Appointment-only services are available throughout the week at the Training Center at 6 Gauntt Place in Flemington. As they have been since the onset of the pandemic, Greater Raritan Training Center staff continue to assist customers over the phone, via email and through virtual appointments, and a virtual orientation session for new customers is conducted on Fridays. Virtual career-webinars also continue. Call 908-541-5780 or email onestop@co.somerset.nj.us.

Staff members at the Greater Raritan One-Stop / Employment Services Center at 75 Veterans Memorial Drive in Somerville are available for in-person and phone appointments for residents seeking career-related services. Walk-ins to the facility cannot be accommodated but they will be able to make an appointment for a future meeting. To schedule an appointment with Employment Services, call 908-704-3000. Residents also can fill out this virtual form to detail what help they need; the completed form will be directed to local officials for direct response.

Learn more about Greater Raritan services

The Greater Raritan One-Stop Training Services Center team also has launched a fun and informative series of videos called P.E.P. (Preparing for Employment Possibilities) Talks. Watch:

System services assist a variety of populations and residents. These includes programs for residents of either county receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, General Assistance or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As part of this program effort, the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board has launched a Chromebook Loaner Program for eligible participants. Partner services also include the Workforce Learning Link to assist with basic literacy and computer skills and high school diploma equivalency work — this brochure provides more details, in English and Spanish. Another targeted service is the Youth Employment Services Program (YES Program), for out-of-school youth, ages 16 to 24, in Hunterdon and Somerset counties — this program brochure illustrates how a participant  progresses through the YES program.

Learn more about New Jersey services

Career services for job seekers also are highlighted on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website. The site also includes a section of Worker Benefits, Protections and COVID19; this handy checklist can help as well.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development also recently launched Job Source, offering a variety of tools designed to help fuel a successful job search experience. Users can create a free account and get tips and templates for job search, resume writing, cover letters and many other free services.

Please note: All unemployment-related services are being done online or through a call centers. Customers who need to file new Unemployment Insurance claims, update existing claims or have questions about their claims should go to https://myunemployment.nj.gov.

Customers unable to access the Internet should call the following numbers: North Jersey, 201-601-4100; Central Jersey, 732-761-2020; Southern Jersey: 856-507-2340. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

There are also numerous state and community programs and resources available to those who need additional support. For information on assistance in the areas of family, food, child care, health, substance use disorder, rent, housing, utilities, and specialized services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and survivors of domestic or sexual violence, please visit myunemployment.nj.gov/morehelp 

Weekly text alerts highlighting career and job opportunities in Somerset and Hunterdon counties are available by texting “onestop” to 565-12. Contact the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board at info@thegrwdb.org or 908-541-5790.

For more information about services for employers, go to the GRWDB website here. For more information about services  for job seekers, go here.

FREE LITERACY PROGRAMS AVAILABLE IN HUNTERDON AND SOMERSET COUNTIES

Free adult literacy programs are available to residents of Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

The program providers, Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and the Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission (HCECS), are part of the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board’s Literacy Committee, which seeks to share information about and expand the effectiveness of the free literacy programs in the two counties.

Programs are funded by a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act federal grant that provides assistance to adults in gaining the necessary literacy and English skills to participate in workforce training programs and employment.

Raritan Valley Community College

RVCC offers free literacy and English language skills to help individuals prepare for employment in the in-demand food service industry.

Classes in the Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education Program focus on skills such as listening, speaking and writing. Class participants who complete the literacy program and complete 10 hours of training in the areas of appreciation, prevention, avoidance and reduction of health hazards and safety in the workplace are eligible to receive either the ServSafe Food Handler or OSHA 10 certification. These certifications are required by the majority of entry-level restaurant or food service jobs.

For more information on the classes, visit https://www.raritanval.edu/literacy. Interested residents also can  email Bonnie.Scharf@raritanval.edu or call 908-526-1200, ext. 8686. 

Hunterdon County Education Services Commission

High school equivalency, basic computer skills and English Language Acquisition classes are offered by the HCESC at four in-person locations in the two counties: In Bound Brook, Flemington, Franklin (Somerset) and Somerville. In addition, the HCESC also will be running one online class.

For the registration packets and program details, visit www.hunterdonesc.org and click on the links for Adult Programs / English Classes or High School Equivalency. For details about the program, email adultliteracy@hunterdonesc.org, or call 908-237-5000 in Hunterdon County or 908-541-5781 in Somerset County.

Other literacy programs

Volunteers at Hunterdon Helpline provide free literacy services through one-on-one, barrier-free individualized instruction. Email literacy@helplinehc.com or call 908-782-4357.

Volunteers at the Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County provide free English Language Acquisition through free one-on-one tutoring. Email info@literacysomerset.org, call 908-725-5430, or visit LiteracySomerset.org.

In addition, individuals may contact either organization to learn about how to become a program tutor.

The Hunterdon County Library offers weekly online English Conversation Groups. Email tedwards@hclibrary.us or call 908-713-7005.

The HCESC also operates two Workforce Learning Link sites offering adult literacy programs. These programs, offered through the Greater Raritan One-Stop Career Center, have virtual and in-person components. Visit www.hunterdonesc.org and click on the Adult Programs/Workforce Learning Link.

Weekly text updates highlight career and job opportunities in Somerset and Hunterdon counties. Text “onestop” to 565-12 to sign up. Additional information on career-development programs offered by the partners of the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board can be found on www.thegrwdb.org.

DISABILITIES EMPLOYMENT CELEBRATION CONDUCTED AT RVCC

Attendees at the Oct. 12 GRWDB Disabilities Employment Celebration at RVCC listen to one of the event’s virtual presentations.

Employers and community residents  of Hunterdon and Somerset counties attended the GRWDB Disabilities Employment Celebration  conducted on Oct. 12, in Raritan Valley Community College’s Conference Center in Branchburg.

This free event was open to employers with open positions and community members looking for jobs and information about services. The in-person event allowed dozens of participants to connect and talk, in-person and virtually. It was presented by the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board Disabilities Committee and Raritan Valley Community College. The GRWDB and RVCC serve Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

The first hour of the event featured two live virtual presentations: “Helping Small Businesses Leverage the Talents of People with Disabilities,” presented by the Northeast Center for the ADA, followed by a presentation on services from the N.J. Division of Developmental Disabilities. After the presentations, the president of New Jersey APSE spoke briefly about available services and how the organization can assist employers and community members.

Dozens of community members then flowed into the conference center for the next few hours to talk with employer and agency representatives about jobs and services available to those with disabilities.

Employers in attendance included Amazon, Matheny, NJ Cannabis Certified, and Peapack-Gladstone Bank. Local agencies  in attendance included Alternatives, The Arc of Somerset, Autism & Disability Employment National SME, the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, GoHunterdon, the Hunterdon Link, Matheny, Middle Earth, Ridewise, the Progressive Center for Independent Living,the Somerset County Office on Aging & Disability Services, and the StarThrower Group.

Community members who could not attend the event in person were able to listen to the presentations remotely. Recordings of the presentations can be heard be going to this website, created by the StarThrower Group.  The site includes  website links to the participating agencies and  employers.

For information on the GWWDB’s Disabilities Committee, visit the Board and Committees tab of the website. Community members interested in joining the committee should contact GRWWD Director Paul Grzella at grzella@co.somerset.nj.us or at 908-541-5790.

WORKFORCE BOARD LAUNCHES CHROMEBOOK LOANER PROGRAM

The Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board (GRWDB) offers a Chromebook Loaner Program for some of the career-services customers it serves in Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

The program, begun in mid-April 2021 in collaboration with the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey, aims to assist residents who may have barriers to accessing virtual resources when they participate in some of the programs supported by the GRWDB.

“We know that the digital divide is real for some of our community members,” said Violet Kocsis, GRWDB Board Chair and Senior Vice President of Corporate Services, CHRO, Hunterdon Healthcare. “That is why the board decided to approve the creation of the loaner program, which is the first of its kind among New Jersey’s Workforce Boards. We hope that the Chromebooks will give our program participants more flexibility and the ability to achieve their career goals.”

The GRWDB oversees federally and state-funded career and employment services for businesses and residents in Hunterdon and Somerset counties. Among those are career resources and training programs for unemployed and underemployed adults, youth ages 16 to 24, and different special populations, including those receiving WorkFirst NJ-funded services.

The GRWDB’s Chromebook Loaner Program is open to eligible residents of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties participating in WorkFirst NJ programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); General Assistance (GA) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).Eligible participants in those programs can use the Chromebooks to assist with virtual workshops, e-learning classes, resume writing, job search, and career coaching.

The GRWDB initially purchased 20 Chromebooks, along with a mouse and carrying case for each. Several of these can be borrowed with Wi-Fi enabled depending upon what clients need.  Case managers working with clients in one of the WorkFirst NJ programs  determine an individual’s eligibility. Participants sign a loan agreement and pick up a Chromebook at a branch of the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey, which created a dashboard to manage the loan and track each piece of equipment. If needed, clients also can borrow  a hot spot from the library if one is available. The library system has been instrumental in creating, launching and providing ongoing support  for the program.

Each Chromebook is available for a four-week loan period, which can be extended if the clients need additional time and there is not a waiting list for other users. Since the program began, about 10 Chromebooks have been loaned out and use is anticipated to increase in 2022 as the numbers of those seeking career-assistance increases.

In anticipation of increased customer need, the GRWDB’s Executive Board approved in mid 2021 the purchase of an additional 20 Chromebooks for Workfirst NJ program participants. All 40 Chromebooks are available for loan through  the Somerset County Library System.

Fran Leddy, representing Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission (HCESC), the vendor which provides WorkFirst NJ services for the GRWDB, noted that, “In order to prepare individuals for successful employment in the current workforce, we need to consider digital literacy as an essential soft skill. The ability to practice these skills at their own pace and as often as needed is an advantage for all of the individuals we serve with the Chromebook lending project.”

The Chromebooks are just one example of how career services have been transformed because of the COVID pandemic. In recent months HCESC has:

  • Created a new, interactive landing page on its website to link program participants with a variety of resources.
  • Developed an online curriculum and program featuring live meetings, pre-recorded content and online assignments.
  • Created a workshop booklet to provide equitable access for clients who don’t have access to technology.
  • Added donated, refurbished laptops to its equipment inventory and made them available for customer use.
  • Assisted customers with employment opportunities and paired them with available resources, including SkillUp Greater Raritan, an online learning portal.

“Many of the services we and our partners previously offered in person are, because of the COVID pandemic, being offered through different virtual platforms,” said Paul Grzella, GRWDB Director. “Even as in-person options return, virtual platforms will continue to be part of our suite of services. The loaner program helps ensure that no one is left out of our career-services programs.”

For more information, and to see if you are eligible for participation in the Chromebook loaner program, call 908-526-8800 ext. 6747 (Somerset County), or 908-237-5000 (Hunterdon County) or visit bit.ly/3l261dK.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

IN THE COMMUNITY

Spreading the word in Frenchtown

Hunterdon County job seekers and employers met and mingled at the Frenchtown Borough Library for a One-Stop Career Day on Tuesday, Feb. 11. The Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board (GRWDB), in partnership with the borough, offered residents the opportunity to meet with a job developer to learn about the many services available to job seekers […]

Census education and fun in Franklin

Somerset County and Census 2020 are partnering to present a series of family fun carnivals for different communities. The free events include food, games and activities for children, table displays from different county and community service-providers, and information about Census 2020, including job opportunities and why it’s important to complete the upcoming Census. WinterFest events […]

Learning about the US Census and having fun

Somerset County and Census 2020 are partnering to present a series of family fun carnivals for different communities. The free events include food, games and activities for children, table displays from different county and community service-providers, and information about Census 2020, including job opportunities and why it’s important to complete the upcoming Census. WinterFest events […]

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