Research Topics

New Start Career Network

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

While the job market in New Jersey is improving, more than 41% of the state’s job seekers — over 125,000 individuals — have been jobless for more than six months, giving New Jersey the second highest long-term unemployment rate in the nation. Additionally, thousands more have given up and dropped out of the labor force. Adding to the problem is the fact that the public workforce system offers few services targeted to the needs of the long-term unemployed, the reluctance of many employers to hire the long-term unemployed, and the difficulty job seekers face in finding reliable and unbiased information and advice.

To help long-term unemployed New Jerseyans, particularly those age 45 and older, obtain jobs, the Heldrich Center, with major support from the Philip and Tammy Murphy Family Foundation and other corporations and foundations, has launching the New Start Career Network (NSCN). NSCN is a multi-year effort involving employers, nonprofit organizations, and Rutgers University to serve job seekers through web-based advising and information resources and personalized coaching. All services are provided free of charge to individuals who meet the program’s basic criteria. Available services include:

  • Information and advice about the labor market, careers, and education and training.
  • Counseling through peer-support networks and job clubs and via a volunteer job counseling corps of professionals and NSCN alumni.
  • Incentives that encourage employers to provide trial employment opportunities and on-the-job training for long-term unemployed job seekers.
  • Commitments from employers to reform hiring practices, building upon initiatives undertaken by the White House and AARP.
  • Access and referral to a broad array of services, including education, training, mental health counseling, and financial advising.

NSCN staff are Maria Heidkamp and Christine Lenart.

To learn more about NSCN, contact NSCN Director Maria Heidkamp at

To learn about becoming a NSCN Volunteer Career Coach, click here.

Unemployment & Reemployment
Research Team: 
Maria Heidkamp
Funded By: 
Philip and Tammy Murphy Family Foundation and other corporations and foundations
long-term unemployment
older workers in New Jersey
reemployment services