PATERSON, NJ – Locals who find themselves struggling due to the COVID-19 crisis can turn to the Passaic County One-Stop Career Center, which has been working throughout the outbreak to help those in need.

With New Jersey’s unemployment numbers continuing on the rise, the Center’s services, which seek to help people find work or the training they’ll need to land a job, are more important than ever. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, 1.1 million people in New Jersey have filed jobless claims with the state. Within Passaic County, 4.8% of the population is out of work, as of April. 

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In March, the state ordered all New Jersey One-Stop Career Center offices closed to the public, which prompted staffers to retool how they do their own jobs. At the Paterson office, the staff has been available remotely during regular business hours to link people with resources, programs and other unemployment-related information.

Program Manager Davidene Alpart said one of the biggest concerns they’re hearing is when, and if ,applications for unemployment benefits will be approved. Alpart said staffers are advising people to visit the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development website, which, she said, “has a lot of information about filing unemployment and jobs.”

Besides making sure clients are keeping up with any remote training programs they are enrolled in and following up on job leads, Alpart said the center is encouraging people to visit the state’s jobs portal – jobs.covid19.nj.gov – to find immediate openings. 

“Even though the world has come to an end, there are still jobs out there,” she said. They’re also doing their best to help individuals navigate social services, such as welfare and SNAP benefits.

Lauren Murphy, the Center’s director, said, “It’s been difficult for everyone and we anticipate seeing a lot more customers once the ‘new normal’ sets in. We also anticipate putting more people in new career training.”

The center offers free services to help those who are unemployed, unskilled or displaced develop the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

Under the supervision of the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders and funded by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the center, a non-profit organization, has training programs, workshops, job fairs, employment counselors and job search assistance. 

According to Alpart, the anticipated reopening of the Center is May 26pdf, for staffers only. Updates on when it’ll be open to the public will be posted online. 

To contact the Passaic County One-Stop Career Center, call 973-340-3400.

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