Employees of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Industry, which has been hit by a recent labor shortage, have been seeking ways to replace some of the roughly 5,500 jobs lost.
The department has not posted new openings for more than two weeks, and it has been trying to fill positions through voluntary recruiting and job searches.
In some cases, those efforts have been thwarted by the lack of new hires, or even by employers who have stopped recruiting.
A company that does job hunting, for instance, might decide it no longer wants to hire new employees, or have them go back to their former job.
In response, the department is launching a new recruiting program, called the “New Jersey Jobs Finder,” which it hopes will boost hiring by at least 10,000 employees a week, officials said Friday.
The goal is to help the state fill vacancies at a faster pace than other states that have begun to recruit through hiring agencies.
In recent years, New Jersey has lost nearly a quarter of its workforce due to the state’s aging population, shrinking workforce and a steep economic downturn.
The state’s unemployment rate is 4.9%, about three times higher than the national average.
The New Jersey Jobs Finders initiative was developed by a team of workers who are part of the state government’s human resources department, including some who were in the agency at the time the program was launched, and several former workers.
The new recruitment program is an extension of the recruitment efforts already underway, and officials said they have recruited over 3,000 people since the program began this week.
The program is meant to help attract and retain talent and provide job seekers with the information they need to be successful in the job market, including the chance to apply for positions.
“We know that our job seekers need to know what they need,” said Karen O’Connor, director of human resources for the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.
“If they are able to get their first job or their second job, they need this information.”
Employees can also submit applications for jobs through the Jobs Finder website.
A form that outlines the job search process and how to apply will be available on the department’s website, and job postings can be found on the agency’s website.
“Our goal is that every single person who comes in, regardless of age, has the chance of being successful,” said Julie Ritchie, director for the agency.
“We are committed to helping them find the right job and stay successful.”
The department has also partnered with local recruitment companies, which are offering more than $200,000 in incentive payments to help fill vacancies.
The incentives are meant to incentivize employers to hire more employees.
The department is also creating a hiring agency to help employers find new jobs for workers.
It is planning to establish an office in New York, and plans to open a recruitment center in Philadelphia.
The New York office will be able to help recruit people who need a job in New Jersey, and the Philadelphia office will have the ability to help employees find jobs in New England, according to officials.