On October 20, the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development introduced the New Start Career Network, an initiative to assist New Jersey’s long-term unemployed to reenter the workforce. Led by the Heldrich Center in collaboration with private-sector employers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and a network of volunteer career coaches, the New Start Career Network will make available, free of charge, job search, résumé, and interviewing tools; job coaching; and training opportunities with employers. The New Start Career Network is made possible by major funding from the Philip and Tammy Murphy Family Foundation. New Jerseyans age 45 and older who have been unemployed longer than six months are eligible to join the network at www.newstartcareernetwork.org.
Carl Van Horn, Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University and Director of the Heldrich Center, observed:
“More than 4 in 10 unemployed New Jerseyans, approximately 125,000 people, have been unemployed for over six months — one of the highest shares of long-term unemployment in the United States. Despite their best efforts, most of these individuals have not succeeded in getting a job for more than a year. Often these job seekers are over the age of 45 and are coping with significant financial and emotional problems. The New Start Career Network brings together a powerful coalition of employers, nonprofit organizations, and volunteers to help address this crisis.”
Funding for the New Start Career Network
In addition to the funds provided by the Philip and Tammy Murphy Family Foundation, funding and support were contributed by New Jersey Resources, the Fund for New Jersey, the AARP Foundation, the DirectEmployers Association, New Start New Jersey, the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University Career Services, and other organizations.
An advisory board of distinguished leaders, chaired by Philip Murphy, Chairman and Co-Founder of New Start New Jersey and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, will provide guidance to the initiative.
According to Murphy:
“Few things could be more important to New Jersey’s future than helping people reenter the workforce. I’m grateful to the New Start Career Network’s many partners that have signed on so far to help us with this critical task. I urge members of New Jersey’s business community to tap this pool of seasoned talent, whose participation in this initiative proves they are ready and willing to learn, grow, and succeed as part of a successful business enterprise. Together we can put New Jersey on a path to prosperity.”
A Statewide Collaboration
The New Start Career Network will be managed by Rutgers’ Heldrich Center for Workforce Development in collaboration with a wide range of partners and collaborators, including employer associations, nonprofit organizations, and state government agencies.
Members can access a wide range of resources, including web-based job search, résumé, and interviewing tools; personal career coaching from experienced volunteers; and referrals to financial advisors, computer literacy training, continuing education courses, and mental health counselors, as needed. Training opportunities with employers will also be available through the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
All members of the New Start Career Network will have access to the full range of resources through the network’s website.
Experienced Leadership Team
The New Start Career Network is directed by Maria Heidkamp from the Heldrich Center. She and her colleagues have extensive experience in the workforce development field and knowledge about how to help older workers return to work. The design of the network incorporates lessons from research on effective practices to help the long-term unemployed. It builds on experience gained when the Heldrich Center managed the September 11th Fund’s Employment Assistance Program, which served 11,000 workers in New York City and New Jersey who lost their jobs in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
“We are so excited here at the Heldrich Center to be launching the New Start Career Network,” said Maria Heidkamp. “While we know the job market remains difficult for older workers who are long-term unemployed, we believe that together with our colleagues from the broader Rutgers community, including Rutgers Career Services and the Alumni Association, our partners in the nonprofit, state government, education, and employer communities, plus the many spirited individuals from across the state who have volunteered to serve as one-on-one coaches, we can bring together the energy and creativity needed to help our fellow New Jerseyans.”