The Bergen WDB envisions a thriving regional economy. We are not alone. We have partners in this effort —community, faith-based, and government organizations with which we are collaborating to create and support initiatives that tackle our most pervasive human capital challenges. We are focused on youth, literacy, veterans, the disabled, and individuals seeking re-employment and re-entry into the workforce. Here are some of the initiatives in which the Bergen WDB is currently involved:
One-Stop Operations Analysis
The Bergen WDB established an Operations Committee to undertake an initiative to improve collaboration and communication at the Bergen County One-Stop Career Center. The goal is to get a fresh perspective on how the Center operates. This ongoing conversation with the font line staff focuses on the workflow and processes of the One-Stop and identifies opportunities for improvement.
Bergen County Economic Development
The Division of Economic Development, in association with the Bergen WDB and the Business Resource Center (BRC) at the One-Stop, is developing an aggressive business development campaign to identify employer needs and opportunities in Bergen County. The team meets weekly in an effort to accomplish its goals:
- To collaborate with the BRC to develop 100 new business relationships
- To collaborate with the Bergen County Division of Economic Development to reach out to the Top 20 largest employers in the County
- To work hand-in-hand creating business development policies and initiatives
Training Grant for High Skill / High Technology Occupations
The Bergen WDB, in cooperation with IBM and North Jersey Partners, a consortium chaired by WDB Executive Director Tammy Molinelli, has been awarded a $5 million H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant by the U. S. Department of Labor. The H-1B Technical Skills Training grant will provide training and retraining for Information Technology (IT) specialists. KPMG, IBM’s consultant, prepared the grant; NJIT is the designated Administrative and Fiscal Agent. Community colleges in North Jersey will deliver the training using IBM’s proprietary curriculum, which will be customized to meet the needs of participating technology companies.
These grants provide education, training, and job placement assistance related to high-growth fields in which employers are currently using the H-1B non-immigrant visa program to hire foreign workers in advanced manufacturing, energy, health care, and information technology. The grants are funded through fees paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B program and are intended to raise the technical skill levels of American workers (unemployed and employed) for high-skill technology jobs and, over time, help businesses reduce their need to use the H-1B program. The Department of Labor considers these grants to be a long-term solution to domestic skill shortages in these occupations, as well as a way to address the high-skill technology shortages of American businesses. They are not intended to address labor shortages due to reasons other than technical skill shortages.
In Bergen County, the H-1B Technical Skills Grant will provide training and retraining for Information Technology (IT) specialists. KPMG, IBM’s consultant, prepared the grant; NJIT is the designated Administrative and Fiscal Agent. Community colleges in North Jersey will deliver the training using IBM’s proprietary curriculum, customized to meet the needs of participating technology companies.
Marketing and Public Relations
The Bergen WDB understands the importance of communicating its purpose and goals to all stakeholders. What’s more, the State Employment and Training Commission (SETC) considers this an important responsibility: “The WDB is responsible for developing a communications strategy that ensures ongoing communications with key stakeholders.” Recently, our marketing efforts have focused on creating and maintaining a local WDB Website to explain how the public workforce system benefits employers and job seekers. It also fulfills the SETC requirement to provide a list of WDB Board Members, WDB meeting minutes, and staff contact information. The Committee is also developing a consistent brand identity for the WDB, identifying key marketing messages, and communicating these messages via print, media, and the Web. In short, the Marketing and Public Relations Committee is developing a comprehensive package of promotional materials for internal and external stakeholders, including but not limited to job seekers, employers, and training providers, plus County and State executives.