…Offering Training and Jobs in a Difficult Environment
by Tom Dwyer
We all know that the economy is in dire straights. Many residents of Hudson County have lost their jobs from the Wall Street meltdown. But one organization, the Hudson County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is doing everything it can to help people get back to work. Part of a federal program of nationwide Workforce Investment Boards, the primary responsibility of the Hudson County WIB is to serve as an alliance of the public and private sectors for the purpose of coordinating, planning, policy guidance, and oversight of employment and training activities in Hudson County. In other words, as their brochure states it, their primary goal is to become the job connecting point for employers and job seekers.
This past year the Hudson County WIB, through its One Stop Career Centers, has aided 20,000 people who have come through its doors looking for job training or a new job. Just a few weeks back, the Hudson County WIB sponsored a job event for 300 financial workers who recently lost their jobs on the waterfront. The One Stop Career Centers gave the workers access to an extensive job bank, assisted them with their resumes, and helped some plan for a new profession. Anthony Corsi, the executive director of the Hudson County Workforce Investment Board, has been with the organization since its conception eleven years ago. “I can truly say that the economic climate has never been worse than it is now,” Corsi said. “We are overwhelmed by the number of people coming into our One Stop Career Centers looking for us to help them find employment.”
The Hudson County One Stop Career System
The Hudson County and Jersey City One Stop Career Centers are designed for ease of use by both job seekers and employers. They offer career information, counseling, job search and referral to training resources and other services. The One Stop Career Centers in Hudson County are interconnected to make the process of training and job search as easy as possible. They also offer youth programs, English-as-a-Second Language programs, literacy programs (Learning Links), GED testing, a Customer Service training program and “Dress for Success”.
One of the key elements of the Hudson County WIB program is that local companies, like PSE&G, Exeter Property Company, New Jersey Transit, United Parcel Service and others, actively work with the organization to hire people through the One Stop Career Centers. In addition, the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce with its member companies holds meet-up events throughout the year to let companies and jobseekers rub elbows. www.hudsonchamber.org. Companies who work with Hudson County WIB may be eligible to receive federal monies and tax breaks for hiring a person through the One Stop Career Centers.
The Hudson County WIB program is determined to help everyone who walks through the doors of its One Stop Career Centers, but Corsi admits it’s getting harder by the day. “We will never turn away anyone who is eligible and looking for help. But sometimes it gets hard with the lack of funding and the monumental numbers of people looking for training or work.” Recently, the Hudson County WIB suffered a 40 percent budget cut. Corsi does not mince words when it comes to President Bush and his lack of funding for WIB programs over the past eight years. “The Bush Administration has not been kind to us even though we were created through congressional legislation eleven years ago. We have not been adequately funded to meet the growing demands, especially with the economic downturn…and that’s the sad fact.”
One project that has suffered during this economic crisis has been Xanadu, the billion dollar amusement complex in Secaucus. The Hudson County WIB was hopeful that the complex would open in 2009, but now with the recession it looks to be delayed. “We were hoping to see 20,000 new jobs be created through Xanadu, but with people holding on to their discretionary money, it looks like that won’t happen until the economy comes back,” Corsi said. Corsi is more optimistic about the new administration in Washington and hopes that President Obama will fund the WIB program through his stimulus package and help people get back to work. “The look on the faces of some of those looking for help is heartbreaking. Being out of work is never good, and during these trying times it’s even worse.”
Hudson County One Stop Career Center, 4800 Broadway, Second Floor, Union City, NJ 07087 ~ Tel: 201 271 4539, ask for Norma / Fax: 201 866 3261 www.hcstonline.org/cdc
Jersey City One Stop Career Center, 438 Summit Avenue, 1st Floor, Jersey City, NJ 07302 ~ Tel: 201 795 8800 / Fax: 201 271 4625
Jersey City Employment & Training Programs – 121-125 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07302 ~ Tel: 201 413 7580 / Fax: 201 860 0007 http://www.jcetponline.org/
For more information On Hudson County WIB go to www.hcstonline.org
If you’re a business and interested in hiring through the One Stop Career Centers call 201-217-7179.