The Garden State Employment and Training Association (GSETA), a professional organization of New Jersey’s Workforce Development leaders, is advising unemployed state residents that virtual and limited in person services are available to assist with their job search.
While extended pandemic-related unemployment benefits expire on Sept. 4, thousands of businesses throughout New Jersey need workers, and the state’s workforce systems partners are ready to help with a range of in-person and virtual career-related services. “We are encouraging unemployed residents to begin their job search now”, said Kevin J. Kurdziel, president of GSETA. “There are many great career opportunities that businesses are looking to fill immediately”, Kurdziel added.
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. “Each local Workforce Development Board continued to offer most services virtually during the pandemic” said Kurdziel.
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 17 months.
State-run One-Stop Career Centers are currently operating remotely only, with career-related services available virtually and by telephone. A return date for appointment-only services at the state-run centers is anticipated for September.
The free services offered at state and county center include assistance with job search, resume reviews, career counseling, 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 NJ, 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. The partners are working to reach out to all community members about these and many other career services because of the Sept. 4 deadline for the end of extended unemployment benefits. On Sept. 4, the federal American Rescue Plan Act extended unemployment benefits end, as does the weekly $300 supplemental benefits received by more than 200,000 New Jersey residents.
New Jersey’s workforce system partners are ready to 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.
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.
In-person unemployment services that were available at most state One-Stop Career Centers were suspended in March 2020, and they will not return 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. 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 have opened since the pandemic began.
For more information, contact your county’s Workforce Development Board or One-Stop Career Centers.
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