By Kenneth Hitchner
Last week, I took a brief hiatus from my job search and attended a DOL focus group that included PSG members from around the state and state government officials in Trenton.
The new Jersey Job Club program, which is expected to launch on July 2 at select sites, was our topic.
Two DOL officials stood up and gave a brief overview of the new educational program, which reduces jobseekers from participants to mere spectators. After all, the heart of PSG includes training and committee opportunities, which give us structure and the ability to fill gaps on our resumes by maintaining and acquiring new skills sets. (The DOL thought it best to strip the latter from the new initiative.)
In all fairness, the 90-minute session began with frankness. A DOL official thanked various PSG groups for turning over their training materials, from which government workers “stole” to create the framework for the Jersey Job Clubs. The upcoming JJC workshops will focus on assorted job-search topics, such as writing resumes, using LinkedIn and answering the tough questions during a job interview. (Hey, wait a minute? PSGCNJ offers that – and much more!)
Here comes the good part: After cutting and pasting years of hard work from PSG volunteers onto a PowerPoint slide under the banner, “Jersey Job Clubs,” we were asked to tell them what we liked about the information that they gave us. Well, we liked the framework that they were using for their educational program because WE created it! So now, DOL officials can say that a group of PSG members approve of the direction of the new Jersey Job Club program. And that is how you make propaganda! All the people in power crave it, but no one wants to really know how it’s made.
A new PSGCNJ feeder system
There is one important note that I have left out. Jersey Job Club members have six months to find a job. After that, they will have to talk to a DOL counselor who will create an individual job-search plan for them. And you will never guess where they will be referred. After conversations that took place during the focus-group session and the meeting among DOL employees two days later, Jersey Job Club members will be referred to existing PSGs.
Say what?!? The DOL is planning to send JJC members back to us when their time limit expires. So, why did the DOL withdraw its support from us on May 25?
Well, it appears that the JJC program is a ruse to outsource job-training services to private citizens, which would allow the State to cut DOL jobs.
Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t ring with rational thought. Back in the day, when people bartered, government stepped in and created currency so it could get a piece of the action through taxation. So, New Jersey wants to eventually cut its services that help its residents get back into the workforce – so they can pay more taxes? I don’t follow.
If you think that it’s expensive to live in New Jersey – imagine doing it without a job. Of all the services to reduce in the near future, help for the unemployed should not be one of them.
So, if you now believe that government is not really here to help you, take heart. You still have us at PSGCNJ – and together we will do more than apart.
The struggle continues.
Help PSGCNJ help YOU!
By Kenneth Hitchner