With a growing number of New Jersey residents working two or three jobs just to make ends meet, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development is making a new push to help guide jobseekers to better paying positions with promising futures.

According to Aaron Fichtner, acting commissioner of the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development, officials have been working closely with employers in key industry sectors to identify the credentials and degrees that are most valued by businesses.

“We identified 198 different credentials that we believe are those that will allow people to get good paying, decent job,” he said.

The credentials cover more than a dozen industries, from education to retail to construction.

To find a good paying job, it’s essential for New Jersey residents to be able to achieve some specialized education," Fichtner, said.

“It’s critically important for people to continue to find ways to upgrade their skills. We believe the best thing a person can do is to find a way to obtain an industry-valued credential,” he said.

He said there are many sectors that offer excellent employment opportunities.

“There’s been tremendous growth in the healthcare industry, but there’s also been growth across the economy and there are a lot of replacement jobs as people retire, people move on to other careers — a lot of opportunities,” he said.

The department’s one-stop career centers are partnering “with the community colleges, with employers to make sure that we’re building those training pathways so people can get the credentials that will help them get a good job and a good career."

“Our community colleges are a tremendous resource for people who are trying to find new careers," he said. "They have a lot of information, a lot of great programs very much aligned with the needs of our employers.”

He said if people want to find out more information they can go to the careerconnections.nj.gov website, "which has a tremendous amount of information, not only on the industry-valued credentials, but also on other advice for people who are looking for careers and jobs.”

He also suggested people looking for new jobs and training should visit a Department of Labor one-stop career center.

“We have trained staff who can help people access where they are in their career and give them advice on how they can pursue their career goals,” he said.

“And we have some financial assistance available to individuals who might qualify, from different federal programs, and we’re happy to give people advice on what they might qualify for.”

He also said it’s important to do your homework before embarking on a new career.

“Go to a one-stop career center, go to your local community college, do your research, talk to your friends, neighbors, co-workers and get really solid advice before jumping into any training program,” he said.

Contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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