NJ helping people look, train, interview for a job — virtually, of course
While jobless applications in New Jersey fell to their lowest weekly levels since the COVID-19 outbreak in March, there are still so many people out of work.
The state Labor Department said applications dropped by 41% in a week to 16,573. Since the pandemic began five months ago, the state has paid more than $13.2 billion in benefits.
But Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said while the decline is good, "we're not out of the woods yet." Starting Monday, Aug. 10, the Labor Department plans to offer virtual job-seeking services through its One-Stop Career Centers.
"It's important that the One-Stop Career Centers resume their role as a trusted community resource offering much needed workforce services," Asaro-Angelo said.
The centers serves as county resources to help residents find new jobs, learn skills, explore career options, change careers and help fill positions in high-demand sectors such as transportation, health care and manufacturing.
The online services include all aspects of job placement including virtual workshops on resume building, networking, interviewing and how to make clients competitive in a tight job market.
Other services include proactive outreach to unemployed workers in industries thave have been hit hard; one-on-one career planning and coaching with re-employment specialists; virtual job fairs; connecting career seekers with vacancies that match their skills; and promoting apprenticeships.
Asaro-Angelo suggests having an up-to-date resume ready along with other records from their last job.
To aid job coaches, applicants should have have an idea of what they may want to do in their next career or where they want to work. Also think about salary requirements.
Asaro-Angelo said he believes there will be a lot more virtual services available in a post-COVID-19 world. There are people who don't feel safe meeting in person or they may have received doctor's orders not to go out in public.
"While we had already been expanding our services pre-COVID, this has obviously made it a little bit more necessary, so I think that you're going to be seeing virtual services be a big part of the equation for workforce training going forward," said Asaro-Angelo.
Another resource for job seekers is the jobs board at jobs.covid19.nj.gov, which lists 55,000 positions.