June 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

First-Ever Project Ezrah Job Fair Attracts Job Seekers

In 2020, America’s unemployment rate skyrocketed to over 14%, an all-time high. Overnight, people found themselves furloughed and fearful of how they would support themselves and their families. The situation was dire: job markets dried up, with recruitment hitting new lows every day. Even now, a year and a half since the pandemic first took over our lives, many are still struggling to pick up the pieces.

Enter Project Ezrah.

Founded in 2001, Project Ezrah was created to help Bergen County community members struggling with basic and critical living expenses. Participants receive personalized job search assistance and strategies to live financially responsible and self-sufficient lives. Since its creation the organization has helped thousands of people find work.

When COVID-19 struck, Project Ezrah saw firsthand its effects on the job market, both for those looking for work and employers looking to bring on new staff. Project Ezrah created a COVID-19 emergency program to offer immediate assistance to local Bergen County families in need.

“When I came on board to Project Ezrah in October, we were consistently helping people with this support,” Rachel Krich, Project Ezrah’s executive director, shared. “Since then we’ve continuously assessed needs and pivoted to meet them.”

To help meet the needs of the community and the ever-changing job market, Krich and Jeff Mendelson, Project Ezrah’s director of employment, discussed the idea of a job fair.

“It was a pretty interesting situation,” Krich continued. “Jeff and I were having our usual check-in meeting when we threw out the idea of a job fair. We’d never actually done one before, but we both thought it could be a good idea, and so we started calling companies and getting it organized.”

The job fair took place on July 20 at the Young Israel of Teaneck and attracted over 120 attendees. Twelve companies presented, including B&H Photo, Apex Global Solutions and Achieve Behavioral Health. Throughout the evening attendees were able to network with the companies and amongst themselves, sharing their stories as well as ideas and strategies to use in their job search.

The event also saw the opportunity for attendees to get one-on-one reviews of their resume or LinkedIn page by a resume expert. For many, this was the most impactful part of the evening.

“I had no idea my resume needed so much work,” said one attendee. “[My reviewer] really broke down what I need to do, and I’ll be working on it as soon as I get home.”

Krich echoed the sentiment. “Oh, the one-on-one resume review was a hit!” she said. “We had no idea what to really expect when we were putting together the event. We didn’t know how many people would come out, and the number that did was just great. We’ll definitely be doing another fair sometime in the future.”

For Mendelson, having helped create the event was gratifying. “With how much the pandemic took from us, the night felt like a good step towards rebuilding,” he said. “The energy was great, the engagement exciting. Hopefully this was a good push forward for a lot of people to get the jobs they need.”

Project Ezrah stands ready to help those struggling with living expenses or those who need help with their job search. If you would like to learn more about their services, visit their website at www.ezrah.org. Additionally, if you have any questions, contact Mendelson at [email protected].


 

Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at www.adamssoapbox.com.

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