In 2020, the immense upheaval and turmoil in the labor market prompted the Heldrich Center to rethink what constituted job seeker support and how virtual interaction could foster a sense of community. With these ideas in mind, researchers created the New Jersey Career Network Job Seeker Community, an online home for New Jersey job seekers looking for help and support along their unemployment journey. The community was designed to allay the far-reaching challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, employing more holistic supports that touched on the needs of the whole person dealing with job loss, physical isolation, shame, and fear.
A new Heldrich Center research brief by Liana Volpe and Savannah Barnett examines the mission and structure of the community, its approaches and activities, observations from community members, and lessons researchers have learned about job seeker needs and supports.
The Strategically Virtual series by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development outlines how the public workforce system can use technology and community partnerships to expand services, address job seeker mental and emotional well-being, and ensure that a broader range of the public is able to access support. The Strategically Virtual series is producing issue briefs, Medium blog posts, practical guides, and more. View all of the Strategically Virtual blog posts.