Focus NJ is out with a new tool that helps employers and job hunters find the training and education programs that will fuel the next hiring surge.

After peaking at nearly 16% during the pandemic, unemployment in New Jersey has fallen to 3.5%. That’s the good news. The flip side? The mild or moderate recession many see on the horizon certainly will cool the demand for labor.

When you pair those expectations with these grim predictions on the New Jersey economy in NJBIA’s annual forecast, 2023 isn’t exactly looking like a boom year for job seekers.

Yet business owners — nearly 6 in 10 in fact — say they haven’t been able to find people with the skills they need. That frustration, along with a cooling labor market, makes this a good time for anyone who feels underemployed or simply ready for a change to learn the skills and training that will be essential when things turn. (Here’s a great link to the jobs expected to be most in demand in 2025.)

And now, there’s a tool that provides an important head start.

This dashboard was just released by the folks at Focus NJ — an independent nonprofit that prides itself on its “timely, innovative, nonpartisan economic and workforce research to support sound public policy in New Jersey.” The venture was launched by NJBIA in 2020.

The dashboard is loaded with data and great tools such as this workforce development map that shows opportunities across New Jersey. You can filter and sort programs and options, which seem endless and include fields as diverse as technology, maritime and hospitality.

It’s a resource that needs to be shared. You also can connect with Focus NJ or me over at LinkedIn.

Kevin Whitmer is a strategic communications and digital media expert. He spent more than 30 years managing large news operations and building digital audiences for The Star-Ledger and

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