A robust economy that puts job seekers in good-paying, career-pathway positions, helps everyone, and New Jersey’s local, county and state workforce partners are constantly collaborating to develop and promote new programs to support employers and understand the current and future needs of businesses. As part of this statewide ecosystem, tThe Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board (GRWDB) aims to understand what is happening now locally while developing a working relationship with employers to understand future goals. GRWDB staff and system partners also communicate trends and best practices to employers and provide connections to appropriate programs and services.
As part of these free programs and services, the GRWDB and New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development (NJDOL) can provide funding and resources to support businesses and non-profit organizations in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties. The programs — job postings and job fairs, On-the-Job Training, Incumbent Worker Training, SkillUp Greater Raritan and many more — assist employers with hiring, training and retention. Just click here for the flyer detailing some resources for our area’s business partners.
Key system partners are the NJDOL’s Business Services Representatives, who are focused on the needs of employers. They connect employers to different state and regional resources, from special job-funding opportunities like On-the-Job Training to a job matching job seekers to open positions, in-person and virtual Recruitment Events and much more. Employers in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties can contact state Business Services Representative Karen Araujo at Karen.Araujo@dol.nj.gov for general information and Jessica Johannesen at Jessica.Johannesen@dol.nj.gov for information about On-the-Job Training funding opportunities; for information on other state services, contact Central Regional Coordinator Amanda Modale at Amanda.Modale@dol.nj.gov.
New Jersey also has Business Service Representatives focusing on employers interested in working with Veterans. To learn more, contact Mark Ortega, the Veterans Business Services Representative for Northwest NJ, at email@example.com. The HIREVets.gov program also recognizes employers who hire veterans. Another resource is Silent Professionals, which hosts a nationwide job board that employers can use to hire veterans.
In addition, local employers can post their job opportunities for no cost on usnlx.com (the National Labor Exchange) and be linked to county State Business Representatives for further services.
Employers can learn about these and other state-focused programs during “Lunch and Learn,” a service for employers from the NJDOL Business Representatives serving seven Central Jersey Regions counties, including Hunterdon and Somerset Counties. An experienced team led by Modale hosts a 12-1 p.m. information session occasionally based on the employers’ preference for day of the week and topic. Topics of interest include Virtual and In-Person Recruitments, the Return and Earn On-the-Job Training program, the U.S. National Labor Exchange (NLX), Job Source and other programs and information. Lunch & Learn sessions, starting from September 2022 onward, can be accessed here on the NJDOL website. Employers of all sizes are invited to participate in a survey, so the Business Representatives team can craft a targeted series that our businesses find useful and helpful.
Employers also can find out more about services available to them by going to www.nj.gov/labor/employer-services/business/.
To understand the skills needs of employers in Hunterdon and Somerset counties, the GRWDB also has posted an on-going survey that aims to help the board understand how it can direct local resources. The brief survey focusing on hiring and job skills needs can be found here and can be answered by all types of employers of all sizes. It should take about five minutes to complete. Survey results are shared on an ongoing basis with the GRWDB’s board and committees as existing programs are reviewed and new projects are considered.
Doing Business in New Jersey
The home page of Business.NJ.gov links users to a host of resources that is a virtual one-stop for the information needed to do business in New Jersey. The site has a live chat feature, which is staffed by the business experts from the New Jersey Business Action Center. The site has information for business start-ups, business expansions and a library of content and FAQs to aid across all types of operations.
To publicize job openings, employers are invited to visit the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Employer Access page, utilizing the National Labor Exchange (NLx). Employers can use this site post jobs easily, quickly and at no cost. In addition, the NDOL also has created an employer resource page, and utilizes the Industry Partnerships model as a vehicle for mobilizing business leaders from specific regions to collaborate with public partners in resolving workforce, economic and education challenges impacting New Jersey industries. To learn more, go to industrypartnerships.nj.gov.
Following are links to information for different NJDOL programs for employers:
- Apprenticeship Grants Program Overview, N.J. Office of Apprenticeship
- Apprenticeships Fast Facts
- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
- Employer Partnership OJT Grant
- Federal Bonding Program for Employers
- Skills Partnership Program Training Grants
- STEM Career Accelerator Program
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board has suite of programs designed to support businesses and workers. Read more here on the NJEDA website.
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association has developer multiple resources to assist the state’s employers. Go to https://njbia.org, to learn more. In addition, NJBIA and New Jersey’s Community Colleges are joining with employers, industry associations, labor unions, education institutions, and workforce development partners to provide students and workers with the career pathways they need to find new careers and opportunity, and to ensure that employers have access to a highly skilled workforce to meet critical labor market needs. To learn more and see how your business can get involved with NJ Pathways, go to , go to njpathways.org.
The New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) assists business owners and entrepreneurs to succeed by leveraging educational partners and community organizations to provide pertinent business trainings. These trainings can be viewed in a community resource room or at a business location. These webinars also prepare listeners for the NJSBDC Small Business Learning Labs or 1-on-1 consulting. Go here for more information. Business owners can also get assistance through the NJSBDC’s Resource Hub. The NJSBDC also helps small businesses achieve Small Business (SBE), Minority (MBE) and/or Woman-Owned Business (WBE) Certification. In addition to the state office in Newark, there are regional centers around the New Jersey.
A Business Resource Page created by the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce and Hunterdon Economic Development may be found here. In addition, the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce’s Unity Bank Center for Business & Entrepreneurship provides opportunities for counseling, technical services, leadership, education and workforce development. Reach out for more information at 908-782-7115 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A resource page from goHunterdon with additional resources can be found here.
Information about why to do business in Somerset County can be found here; go here for details about services and programs of the Somerset County Business Partnership. Transportation information about Somerset County can be found here, from RideWise.
Other resources, services from the GRWDB and national, state and local partners
Information for workers and job seekers is available on the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board‘s website, on the Resources tab “Job Seekers.” The Resources tab also provides a link to SkillUp Greater Raritan, a vast online learning portal available for free to all residents and workers in Hunterdon and Somerset counties. Businesses in Hunterdon and Somerset counties also may use the platform for employee training needs, including training for Job Readiness and New Manager badges, and additional incumbent worker training funded through the GRWDB. Contact email@example.com or call 908-541-5790. Webinars introducing new users to this platform are conducted monthly; details can be found on our site’s calendar tab. More information is available here.
System services for employers is highlighted here in a video produced in conjunction with the Somerset County Public Information Office.
GRWDB staff also have developed an employer-focused presentation about its services, available for all interested organizations and groups. Contact GRWDB Director Paul Grzella at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a presentation.
Following are some additional employer-focused services available from these team members and other national, state and local partners.
The New Jersey Training Explorer website (https://training.njcareers.org) is a comprehensive listing of all schools and organizations offering education and job training programs that are eligible to receive publicly funded tuition assistance. Entities interested in becoming an approved provider in the state system should click on the Training Provider link on the home page and follow the prompts and links which detail the application process and requirements. Email IGXHelp@dol.nj.gov.
O-Net Online – Research careers and industries on this site, which has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by workforce and human resources professionals, job seekers, researchers, and more.
The U.S. Census Bureau offers a diverse set of easy-to-use tools that can help businesses in strategic decision-making procedures. These include Census Business Builder and data.census.gov where users can explore a range of census data.
The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship offers details on how employers can use apprenticeship to build their workforce, either through new workers or the upskilling of existing employees. Related to that, here is the most recent list of apprenticeable occupations. In addition, one-stop apprenticeship site, https://www.apprenticeship.gov, can be used by job seekers, employers and educators.
WorkforceGPS is an online technical assistance website created to help build the capacity of America’s public workforce investment system. Sponsored by the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, WorkforceGPS was developed specifically for workforce professionals, educators, and business leaders. The site features curated communities of interest, useful webinars and other training resources, promising workforce development practices, and relevant evidence-based research – giving users the tools needed to help create innovative approaches to improve the employment prospects of job seekers. Employers are invited to join the platform – just click on the “BECOME A MEMBER” ribbon. One example of business-focused services is the SkillFul Talent Series: Online Training in Skills-Based Talent Management and Hiring Practices. During this free training series, presented by Rework America Alliance, participants will learn ways to attract, select and retain workers that bring in-demand skills to an organization, while improving employee retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
The Employment and Training Administration also hosts a Competency Model Clearinghouse website. A competency model is a collection of multiple competencies that together define successful performance in a defined work setting. A model provides a clear description of what a person needs to know and be able to do – the knowledge, skills, and abilities – to perform well in a specific job, occupation, or industry.
Following is information on additional programs employers will find of interest:
- The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) offers a Small Business Toolkit aimed at helping address workforce shortage with proactive measures to recruit and hire qualified talent with disabilities. Beyond filling open positions, research shows that being a disability-inclusive employer has other advantages, including expanded business reach, reduced turnover, and insight into a large and growing customer base.
- Libraries to Business (L2B) is a group consisting of libraries and affiliates working to help the business community and job seekers get connected to local resources. Affiliates include chambers of commerce, SCORE, and the NJ Business Action Center. The organization’s calendar lists ongoing career-related information, and the site links users to Data Axle Reference Solutions, a Jobs and Career Accelerator, the Small Business Reference Center, and a Regional Business News database.
- The Mental Health Association in New Jersey offers this Career Connection page for staff development.
- SCORE Central Jersey works to support economic success for businesses and people in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties. The program’s network of volunteers have vast professional and business experience and help establish new businesses and grow existing ones through mentoring and education; this includes non-profits. For more information, visit Central Jersey | SCORE. In addition, SCORE Central Jersey is working the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce’s Unity Bank Center for Business & Entrepreneurship to provide free business counseling for small businesses. To schedule a session, go here.
- United Way of Northern New Jersey‘s Workforce Strategies page offers businesses information on ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) employees, and how this segment of the workforce can be supported. ALICE households throughout the country struggle to afford basic expenses. More than a quarter of New Jersey households were ALICE before the pandemic hit, and financial hardship worsened as the crisis took its toll.
- Finally, for those contemplating starting businesses, Digital offers this resource guide with 82 small business ideas and downloadable tools to help budding entrepreneurs.