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Christie Administration Partners With County Colleges To Train Older Workers

The Christie Administration and the New Jersey Community College Consortium (NJCCC) today hosted a graduation ceremony at Hudson County Community College for one of 10 classes of older workers who completed a statewide training program designed to help them find sustainable employment.

The training, provided under what is called the WorkForce 55+ Program, was set up through a collaborative effort involving the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the NJCCC using federal funds to train approximately 250 candidates from 13 Garden State counties at 10 community colleges. The courses instructed the older students in financial literacy and basic computer skills, such as using the Internet and email, as well as interviewing skills and job search techniques using social media. They also were provided with small group, individualized instruction.

“The program is designed to offer older workers who are financially disadvantaged an opportunity for paid, on-the-job training and a chance at developing work experience that will lead to unsubsidized employment and sustainable jobs. In this case, we have additionally given them skills we know will help in securing a job,” said state Labor Commissioner Harold J. Wirths.

Patricia Moran PhD., Director of Workforce Grants and Program Management for the Labor Department, presided over the graduation of approximately 40 students at Hudson County Community College, where Dr. Glen Gabert, President of Hudson County Community College, and Sivaraman Anbarasan, Executive Director of the NJCCC, also spoke at the ceremony. The Hudson College group of 40 students was the largest single class in the program and the event was held at the college’s Culinary Conference Center.

“As many recent surveys indicate, employers are looking for 21st Century technology and other employability skills in their new hires. Through the Workforce 55+ Program, we are bridging this skills gap among the unemployed individuals who are 55 years and above. By equipping them with skills from Microsoft Office to social media networking, we are empowering them to be successful in job search and retention. The New Jersey Labor Department’s vision to assist this population in this way could become a model for the whole nation,” said Anbarasan of the NJCCC.

The community colleges involved in this round of training included Atlantic Cape Community College, Brookdale Community College, Burlington County College, Camden County College, Cumberland County College, Essex County College, Hudson County Community College, Middlesex County College, Union County College and Sussex County Community College.

WorkForce 55+ is a federally funded program authorized under Title V of the Older Americans Act that offers jobs and training to economically disadvantaged people who are 55 years of age and older. The New Jersey training was specifically funded by a Senior Community Service Employment Program grant provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.