A new effort is under way to help older unemployed New Jersey residents get back to work.
Carl Van Horn, who directs the Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, said the New Start Career Network will offer free services to those 45 and older who have been unemployed longer than six months.
“They’re going to be able to access our website, which is going to have curated information about how to apply for a job, how to get though an interview, where to find resources and training opportunities if they need them,” he said.
Many of those long-term jobless residents may be discouraged or depressed, Van Horn said, and volunteer coaches will help them use the Internet and other resources to identify job opportunities.
“A lot of older workers don’t understand how the companies screen applicants because of tests that they have,” he said. “So we’re going to be helping them figure out how to navigate that. We’re also going to teach them how to access the hidden job market, not all jobs are listed on the Internet, so how to network with people.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy, who chairs the advisory board of the New Start Career Network, said New Jersey has one of the highest percentages of long term unemployed in the nation.
“If you wanted to try to move the needle on the health of the state’s economy, this would be a specific area to try to address,” he said.
Many of the long-term jobless are not able to connect with the employers who need qualified workers.
“In many cases they can’t find each other,” Murphy said. “It’s a classic round hole and square peg. So our hope is that this service, which will be free of charge, the more it gets out there the more it can sort of solve that friction and help folks meet up.”
Murphy’s family foundation helped start the new network.