DePhillips launches bold new program to fill jobs and grow small businesses

DePhillips launches bold new program to fill jobs and grow small businesses

Christopher P. DePhillips

TRENTON, N.J. – Pandemic lockdowns decimated countless businesses and put hundreds of thousands of people out of work. Many businesses and nonprofits already have trouble retaining workers in some hard-to-fill jobs. Assemblyman Christopher P. DePhillips has a win-win plan to help businesses and residents alike.

DePhillips, partnering with the Community Foundation of New Jersey and Democrat colleague Andrew Zwicker, will soon launch the AnchorNJ initiative, a program that will connect anchor institutions— large, typically nonprofit institutions such as hospitals, universities, arts centers—with locals seeking employment and small businesses with goods and services to offer.

Anchor institutions have proven to be strong and stable drivers for local economic growth because they are typically one of the largest employers and spenders in their communities. DePhillips understands that anchor institutions will play a major role in rebuilding our economy post-COVID-19.

AnchorNJ’s first initiative, dubbed “HireNJ,” will use the expertise of the nationally recognized West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, which designs and operates programs that train local participants for specific jobs within companies. WPSI was founded in 2009 by the University City District, which took over an existing program managed by UPenn’s Netter Center.

“How can employers get the best employees for the jobs they need filled? The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative has cracked that code, and we’re so excited to bring their expertise to our state with HireNJ,” DePhillips (R-Bergen) said. “Employee retention increases job satisfaction and earnings for everyone, while saving employers money. Steady, stable, local workforces create happier and healthier communities. Who doesn’t want all that?”

HireNJ will partner with local employers to create training programs specific to their hard-to-fill positions. A rigorous interview process will whittle down candidate lists to only those who meet stringent requirements. The results: turnover is reduced by 50%, and hires are nearly 40% more likely to stay employed after two years than traditionally hired staff, a savings of nearly $10,000 to employers.

The pandemic and corresponding global lockdowns exposed the fragility of the supply chain both in human capital and products in every field, from medicine to refrigeration and everything in between.

“We need to think local and create solutions unique to each circumstance. In this post-pandemic climate, it is critical we build back our businesses and offer customized training to those unemployed seeking to get back to work,” DePhillips added. “AnchorNJ will meet those challenges.”