Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the January 16, 2002 edition of U.S.
1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Downsizings Hit Young Workers and Executives Alike
Unemployment is up along the Route 1 corridor, and it
is bringing desperation to the under-skilled and the over-skilled
alike. Rachel Weitzenkorn is coordinator of Project Re-employment,
a service of Jewish Family and Children’s Services that is open to
everyone, regardless of religious affiliation. "People come into
my office and they are so depressed, so discouraged," she says.
The next session of Project Re-Employment, which exists to get these
displaced workers back to work, begins on Wednesday, January 30, at
9:30 a.m. at the agency’s offices at 707 Alexander Road. There is
no charge, but attendees are required to attend all four sessions.
The other three take place on Thursday, January 31, and on Wednesday
and Thursday, February 6 and 7. Call 609-987-8100.
"There are definitely more inquiries," Weitzenkorn says.
see as many as 25 people in Project Re-Employment, and I also see
people individually. Those inquiries definitely have risen a lot.
A lot of local businesses are downsizing."
Weitzenkorn is seeing people at both ends of the age and income
Younger people — in their 20s and 30s — who have never
college are finding it difficult to land jobs. Many worked for 10
or more years, lost a job, and are finding that employers now consider
a four-year degree a baseline requirement.
The other group turning up at Weitzenkorn’s office are executives
in their 50s. During the past year, many have been from the financial
industry, and especially from banking. "They were vice
says Weitzenkorn. "When banks merge, they only need so many vice
presidents." Re-entry into banking does not appear feasible for
many as the industry continues to shrink.
The misery is compounded for a number of former bankers, who are on
their second, or third, or fourth lay-off. "They have been laid
off again, and again," says Weitzenkorn, "and at a high
A lot come in pretty frustrated, and depressed."
Prospective employers see 20-plus years experience on these resumes,
Weitzenkorn says, and their immediate reaction is: "We can’t
Ph.D.s, laid off from pharmaceuticals, have a similar problem. Like
experience, a high salary, or a lofty job title, the credential
too many dollar signs in the eyes of would-be employers. Highly
candidates, says Weitzenkorn, are being passed over without a good
The result for scores of families in our area is a soul deep
After one too many lay-offs, there is little will to even look for
another job, to risk yet another pink slip. "They just want to
sleep," Weitzenkorn says of these discouraged job seekers.
Project Re-Employment exists to help. It brings in personnel experts
from the state’s Labor Department, who teach networking skills and
have contacts with local employers, representatives from credit
services to help individuals plot near-term economic survival, and
other job search experts.
After a little over a year as the program’s coordinator, Weitzenkorn,
who holds an MSW from Rutgers and a bachelor’s degree from Boston
University (Class of 1999), has some advice to pass along.
reach out to her agency, many are about as low as they can go. This
attitude comes through in interviews, and can sabotage opportunities.
She knows it isn’t easy, but Weitzenkorn says it is essential to do
everything possible to stay up-beat.
Regular exercise, contact with supportive friends, time out for
leisure activities, and a set daily routine all are important. Joining
a job hunters support group is helpful too.
little education beyond a high school degree. Obtaining a four-year
degree is hard, especially for anyone with a family. Weiztenkorn
community college programs as an alternative, a way to learn
skills that can translate quickly into a good job.
— banking, for instance — are not going to appear in great
abundance any time soon. Downsized executives in this, and other
undergoing consolidation, may need to assess their transferable
re-package themselves, and switch to another career track.
vice president of XYZ Corp." at the top of a resume is no longer
a great idea in many industries. Instead of years in a particular
position, create a resume around core skills.
pay $4,000 for information you can get free," says Weitzenkorn.
Databases, publications, and counseling all are available at no
Paying job search agencies a large fee does not guarantee a job,
says. Relentless networking generally is a better bet. In her opinion,
"You could be better off talking to people in the grocery
looking for teachers, Weitzenkorn says. Executives with years of
in science or technology often are welcome on campus. "You won’t
earn six figures," she says, "but the work can be more
For those who are just looking for a way to earn a little cash while
continuing a job hunt, she suggests substitute teaching as a good
had it with the trauma of serial lay-offs, and are looking to gain
control of their destinies by starting a business. This can be a good
move, she says, but it needs to be carefully plotted.
but employers and placement agencies are telling Weiztenkorn there
are opportunities out there. The key thing employers are looking for?
"The right skills," she says. "And flexibility."
to bend on everything from salary to hours to travel requirements
are in, at least until the economy turns up again. What’s more, those
claiming new jobs in an atmosphere of downsizing will have to be
to take on the extra work that comes with all those empty desks.
Joseph Taylor, CEO of the Matrix Development Group
of Cranbury, and his wife Leslie Taylor, along with the Matrix
raised over $1.2 million for the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. The
Award of Hope Gala was the event through which the money was raised.
This year’s gala raised 50 percent more than was raised through last
The gala was co-hosted by Frank Van Grofski, executive vice president,
retired, of PNC Bank, and Richard F.X. Johnson, senior vice
president of development, Matrix Development Group, and Maureen
The Taylors began working for the Cancer Institute seven years ago
when they co-sponsored a pro-am golf event at Forsgate Country Club
that attracted thousands of attendees and began building community
awareness of the Cancer Institute. Since that time, with the support
of the Matrix Foundation, they have worked to increase financial
for the institute and to bring the public information about the
resources offered by the institute.
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the only National Cancer
cancer center in New Jersey, was created to improve the prevention,
detection, treatment, and care of patients with cancer through the
transformation of laboratory discoveries into clinical practice.
Ball, the annual benefit of the Friends of the Princeton University
Art Museum. Taking place on Saturday, February 2, the event raises
money for educational outreach initiatives in the museum’s new
of education and academic programs. Among major supporters are
Conference Call Services, American Re-Insurance Company ,
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Fleet Bank, Johnson & Johnson, and
with offices in Bridgewater, have raised $812 for the Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation through a Denim dressdown day. The firm has
pledged to take part in four more drressdown events this year. It
participated in Lee National Denim Day on October, and on that
For more information on Denim Day, call 800-521-5533 or visit
as "Organization of the Year" by Community Options on Friday,
February 1, at its annual awards dinner at the Hyatt Princeton.
Community Options, with offices on 16 Farber Road, is a national
providing residential and employment support to people with
Housing assistance provides support to these individuals as they move
from institutions into the community. Employment programs focus on
placing individuals in competitive jobs or community volunteer
Yardville Bank has helped the organization meet its goals by finding
quality employment and housing for its clients.
contributed $8,700 to print 20,000 copies of the map of the site of
the World Trade Center. Laura Kurgan, an architect who teaches at
the Princeton University School of Architecture, designed the map,
called "Around Ground Zero." Its purpose is to help visitors
find their way into an area that defies easy access. Kurgan has been
quoted as saying, "People are extremely disoriented. They have
no idea what they are looking at."
Kurgan worked with architects, designers, researchers, and students,
all of whom donated their time. It took about a month to produce the
map, which highlights an area from Duane Street to Bowling Green at
the tip of Manhattan.
Along with streets and public transportation routes, the map shows
the locations of unobstructed sight lines, impromptu memorials, and
the new viewing platform. The severity of building damage is marked
by colored stars. The flip side has an aerial photograph of the site.
Kurgan herself has been passing the maps out to visitors.
firm with offices at 777 Alexander Road, support several Mercer County
Head Start day care centers. Principals Don Fetzer and Dick Wizerman,
along with their employees, provided toys, food, and clothing to
at three of these day care centers.
Sherry Bachman, director of corporate administration, and other
delivered the gifts.
a retired public library director, has awarded 21 grants of $5,000
— to be distributed over two years — to libraries, including
the Monroe Township Library, and the East Brunswick Library. These
Karma Foundation Tipping Grants challenge libraries to demonstrate
how a small amount of money can make a big difference.
The Monroe Township Library will use its grant to develop marketing
plans to identify the library needs of families in the township. The
East Brunswick Library will use its grant to produce 11 decorative
quilts that will hang on a 40-foot wall in biography area of the youth
services department as a permanent visual displa
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