The Christie administration today announced a commitment of nearly $1.4 million to continue the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s New Jersey Career Connections program. Nineteen library systems received grants to deliver services to 42 libraries across New Jersey. The program provides uniform career guidance and job search assistance services to residents in their communities.
The announcement was made by Acting Commissioner Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D., of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD), at the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan.
Additionally, all libraries in New Jersey— state, county and municipal— will now have access to receive Career Connections training by LWD staff and Career Connections-branded materials to further expand the network of the State’s career assistance program. Starting today, the Career Connections program also will utilize social media, offering job fair information and career guidance tips on Facebook and Twitter, a valuable addition to LWD’s successful www.careerconnections.nj.gov website.
“Libraries across the state play a key role in the job search process as community centers. We’re excited about adding even more libraries to our network,” said Acting Commissioner Fichtner. “We urge people interested in Career Connections to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get the most up to date information.”
“We look forward to continuing our joint efforts with the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development to help New Jersey’s jobseekers through libraries. The consistency of service and coordinated resources between our Career Connections libraries and the One-Stops ensures that residents are getting the most accurate and current information to help them succeed in their job search,” said Mary Chute, New Jersey State Librarian.
The initiative has been applauded by the U.S. Department of Labor for its innovative approach promoting collaboration between the public workforce system and public libraries. Job seekers who are in need of more extensive reemployment services are referred to a local One-Stop Career Center.
The following libraries received grants: Newark, Paterson, North Bergen, Union, Roselle, Plainfield, New Brunswick, East Brunswick, Long Branch, Atlantic City, Salem, Sussex County, Monmouth County, Monmouth County – Eastern Branch, Gloucester County, Warren County, Ocean County, Sussex County, and Cumberland County.
The Career Connections grants are part of a larger $2.5 million initiative partnering the LWD and libraries. One million dollars was committed for adult literacy. Eleven libraries participated receiving English as a Second Language (ESL) and basic skills programming.
The partnership between LWD’s Career Connections and New Jersey libraries is part of the ‘65 by 25: Many Paths, One Future’ initiative, working to help all New Jerseyans find pathways to employment through training aligned to the needs of employers. The goal is to have 65 percent of the workforce equipped with a college degree or industry-valued credential by 2025. Currently, 52 percent of the workforce meets the criteria.