Twelve months ago, a room full of unemployed professionals decided to turn a defunct state program into a nonprofit that puts unemployed, college-educated professionals back into the workforce.
Today, the Professional Service Group of Central New Jersey (PSGCNJ) continues to fulfill its mission through free, innovative educational and workforce development programs.
“If you are out of work but not overworked, then you are not an active member of PSGCNJ,” said PSGCNJ Executive Director Kenneth Hitchner. “Our program gives our unemployed professional members their lives back, about one every 72 hours.”
A research project uncovered that 54 percent of PSGCNJ’s once-unemployed members went back to work in fewer than 26 weeks, which is about twice as fast as the rest of the United States during the worst recession in recent history. In addition, 65 percent went back to work in fewer than 39 weeks, about 30 percent faster than the rest of America.
Prospective members can simply join the free employment community by attending a General Membership meeting in the basement of the First United Methodist Church in Somerville, N.J. After signing in, community members are eligible for the organization’s free Accelerated Career Training (ACT), which teaches how to find a job in today’s workplace. The 2.5 days of training is offered during the first week of every month.
After completing ACT Training, members become eligible to attend free modules in resume review and mock interviews.
‘The Secret Sauce’
The organization’s workforce development program is the “secret sauce” that separates it from other job-search groups. PSGCNJ is operated by six business units: Marketing & Events, Training, Opportunity (employer outreach), Development (Fundraising), Membership (database management) and Technology. To become an “active” member of PSGCNJ, members are required to join one of the six committees and contribute their time and talent.
Currently, more than 100 volunteers are donating their time to operate the nonprofit. In exchange for their talent, PSGCNJ’s members receive the following non-financial items that they have started to lose since becoming unemployed:
- Social interaction
- Ability to maintain skill sets
- Ability to acquire new skill sets
- Ability to create new accomplishments
The PSGCNJ value system
The organization’s collective belief system also separates it from other groups in the job-search space. Members believe the following:
- More can be done together than apart
- Every time you help another, you help yourself
- A bout of unemployment can be turned into an experience that makes professionals more valuable in the workplace.
PSGCNJ is currently pursuing 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. At this time, no active member draws a salary.
To learn more about how PSGCNJ can help you, please visit http://www.psgcnj.org.