Opportunities abound

Career center opens in Bayonne

City and county officials cut the ribbon on a satellite office for Hudson County's One-Stop Career Center.
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City and county officials cut the ribbon on a satellite office for Hudson County's One-Stop Career Center.

The Hudson County Schools of Technology and Hudson County’s One Stop Career Center (CDC) expanded into Bayonne on Jan. 15 by opening a satellite office at Bayonne City Hall.

Those looking for work or to advance at their current jobs often come up against a bootstrap response: Pick yourself up, get out there and apply to jobs or schools. Anyone in this position knows it’s not that simple. Training and counseling are crucial, but too many people are unaware of the local resources available or are too far away from those resources to get the ball rolling.

The new location will make it much easier for Bayonne residents to access job training, career development, and planning services. Before, it took more than an hour to reach the center’s main office in Union City. Now, a counselor will be on the job every Tuesday and Thursday at Bayonne City Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bankrolling the program

Funded by federal grants through the Workforce Opportunity Investment Act of 2013, the CDC offers free job training, job placement, aptitude testing, and job referrals. Many who use the program are eligible for tuition waivers at public colleges and can receive assistance to pay for certifications.

“What good does it do us if we develop jobs in Hudson County, but we don’t provide our workforce, particularly our young people, the tools that are necessary to fill the jobs created.” — Tome DeGise

The center placed 63 people in jobs from October through December, many of whom completed six-month training programs. The federal government determines the kinds of training offered by what skills are in demand. Some of the most popular programs train people to become certified nurse’s aides, CDL drivers, project managers, medical and dental assistants, and dietary aides. More than 3,000 job-training courses are now accessible online.

“We’re enjoying a wonderful economy,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise at a press conference at Bayonne City Hall. “The unemployment rate is down, the economy is moving pretty good despite what’s going on in Washington. Here in Hudson County, we’ve always bragged about being the best job creator in the state. We’re very proud of that.”

But you need more than jobs.

“What good does it do us if we develop jobs in Hudson County, but we don’t provide our workforce, particularly our young people, the tools that are necessary to fill the jobs created,” DeGise said. “That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

Serving all of Hudson County

“Expanding these critical services in the western and southern ends of Hudson County will ensure every resident can reap the benefits of the county’s investment in education and technology,” said CDC Director Steven Smith.

Mayor James Davis agreed. “You see all the development going on,” Davis said. “You see people moving here. The biggest thing that we can do is provide jobs. To be able to bring this to the city so people don’t have to take two or three buses to Union City or North Bergen, to have residents able to come to their own city hall … this is a big plus for the big city of Bayonne.”

Rory Pasquariello can be reached at roryp@hudsonreporter.com