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FOR JOBSEEKERS

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LABOR ANALYSIS

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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.

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 programs and resources to assist job seekers. This includes the Greater Raritan Resume PortalSkillUp Greater Raritan, and a local literacy connection guide. Partners also offer free literacy classes throughout the year.

These pages also have links to the state’s Cov-19 Information Hub page which has a vast amount of information and resources, including for businesses and community members. A COVID-19 Jobs and Hiring Portal also is updated regularly.

Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, in-person services had been stopped and virtual services began in March 2020 by Greater Raritan One-Stop partners. Service procedures are now evolving to reflect the reopening of New Jersey.

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 at the Training Center at 6 Gauntt Place in Flemington on Mondays and Tuesdays; walk-in and appointment services are  available Wednesdays to Friday. 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 at the Greater Raritan One-Stop / Employment Services Center at 75 Veterans Memorial Drive in Somerville (as of Oct. 18), have begun to schedule in-person and phone appointments for residents seeking career-related services. (Note that unemployment services will not be available in person but will continue to be accessed virtually and by phone.) 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.

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 are varied. 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, and 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.

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.

And please note: All unemployment-related services are being done online or through the call centers. Customers who need to file new Unemployment Insurance claims are asked to apply online at 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.

CAREER-RELATED SERVICES AVAILABLE THROUGH ONE-STOP CAREER CENTERS

New Jersey’s workforce system partners offer a range of in-person and virtual career-related services that connect job seekers with the tens of thousands of open positions available throughout the state.

One-Stop Career Center offices closed to in-person services in March of 2020, and shifted to a virtual-delivery model, presenting career webinars, virtual information sessions, case management and other services remotely, using digital and telephonic models.

In recent months, many county Workforce Development Boards and One-Stop Career Training Centers have become hybrid operations, with appointment in-person services offered along with the virtual suite of services developed by the partners over the past 18 months.

In addition, starting on Oct. 18, state-run One-Stop Career Centers will begin scheduling in-person and phone appointments for residents looking for career-related services.

Residents of Hunterdon and Somerset counties who need assistance with career-related services can contact the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board and its local system partners. Services include Virtual Information Sessions for companies hiring in the two counties; since the beginning of this year, more than 1,500 individuals have attended 45 sessions, and new events continue to be planned. More information on GRWDB and system partners programs is available on the Events/Calendar tab of www.thegrwdb.org/.

The other free services offered at state and county centers include 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. Job seekers and underemployed residents are also encouraged to register with SkillUp Greater Raritan. a free online portal with more than 6,000 courses focusing on business, IT and health topics.

New Jersey’s workforce system partners connect employers and job seekers, aiming to create a robust economy for all stakeholders. This work is especially important as those currently without jobs adapt to the Sept. 4 expiration of extended unemployment benefits. New Jersey’s workforce system partners can assist these beneficiaries and other job seekers by connecting them to the thousands of open positions around the region. With competition for open positions tighter than it has been in many years, many industries are offering increased hourly wages and even sign-on bonuses in bids to get and keep workers.

In-person unemployment services that were available at most state One-Stop Career Centers were suspended in March 2020, and they are not returning as in-person services resume at the state and county career centers.

All unemployment claimants are asked to file new claims, update existing claims, or ask questions about their claims online at  https://myunemployment.nj.gov. The site also includes details on benefit extension deadlines and other related information.  Claimants can call unemployment services at 732-761-2020. An expanded call center, along with redirected Department of Labor personnel, have increased the capacity for personnel to address callers’ issues and better manage the record number of unemployment claims that were opened since the pandemic began.

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.

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.

FREE LITERACY PROGRAMS AVAILABLE IN HUNTERDON AND SOMERSET COUNTIES

Free adult literacy programs serving residents of Hunterdon and Somerset counties have scheduled classes for the fall.

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 is offering free literacy and English language skills to help individuals prepare for employment in the in-demand food service industry. Classes will be offered online in the evenings beginning in October.

Classes in the Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education Program will 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 will be 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 in Hunterdon County, email dvoria@hunterdonesc.org or call 908-237-5000. For details in Somerset County, email spettesch@hunterdonesc.org or call 908-541-5781.

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 a weekly online English Conversation Group. 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) has begun a Chromebook Loaner Program for some of the career-services customers it serves in Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

The program, begun in mid-April 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 purchased 20 Chromebooks, along with a mouse and carrying case for each. Several of the 20 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. The library system was instrumental in creating and launching 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, three Chromebooks have been loaned and use is anticipated to increase as the numbers of those seeking career-assistance increases.

In anticipation of increased customer need, the GRWDB’s Executive Board approved this summer the purchase of an additional 20 Chromebooks for Workfirst NJ program participants. The equipment will be available this fall; some will be added to those already available through the Somerset County Library System while others will be available through a Hunterdon County Library branch, so  that eligible Hunterdon customers can more easily access the Chromebooks.

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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