Empowering Patrons to Secure Gainful Employment

A Note from the Desk of TASK Job Search Specialist Paulash Banarjee

Dear Friends,

As a part of TASK’s Adult Education and Work Preparedness (AEWP) program, the Job Search Program was designed to provide help to those entering or re-joining the workforce by providing personalized mentorship, hard and soft skill development and connections to local employers. We also provide access to vital resources such as transportation and workplace attire.

Before COVID-19, our services depended almost entirely on our ability to meet in-person. In addition, with many companies shutting down during the pandemic, work was limited. Even those jobs that did exist were out of reach due to the application and interview process moving online.

TASK embraced the challenge. We began to hold contactless appointments by phone and outdoors, in compliance with social distancing requirements. We consulted with local employers and partnered with other community organizations to provide patrons with computers and teach them the skills necessary to navigate this new, digital job market.

Throughout all this, the AEWP team has also focused on helping patrons overcome another critical barrier to employment. Criminal background checks can serve as a roadblock to employment, disqualifying motivated, skilled workers who have long since left their mistakes in the past. While judgments can be removed through the expungement process, it takes a significant amount of time and money – two resources many of our patrons don’t have. In partnership with Central Jersey Legal Services, the Job Search Program has been able to refer patrons to no-cost expungement assistance under the guidance of experienced attorneys. This service will continue to open doors for patrons who have been otherwise overlooked.

The Job Search Program has grown exponentially since we launched three years ago, and we will continue to serve as a community resource to link patrons and employers throughout the pandemic and beyond. If you or your company have an interest in hiring TASK patrons, or if you are a lawyer with an interest in assisting patrons through the expungement process, we would love to hear from you! At TASK, we are proud of our work to empower patrons to achieve their goals by securing stable, gainful employment, and we appreciate your support.

Paulash Banarjee
TASK Job Search Specialist