RIVER EDGE, N.J. – John Fugazzie was out of work when he started a support group for job seekers at the River Edge library in 2011.
Over time, the initiative blossomed into a network of neighborhood-based support groups that have helped hundreds of people attain employment.
“We have helped over 700 people back to work, but more important is, we’ve kept thousands engaged through the meetings and online,” Fugazzie said, of the group Neighbors-helping-Neighbors.
Fugazzie is now back to work himself as the full-time executive director of the Hudson County/Jersey City Workforce Development Board and as a part-time professor in Hackensack for Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies.
But he is still spearheading Neighbors-helping-Neighbors and is hoping to help even more people through a seventh anniversary celebration that will feature networking, resume assistance and a presentation by job-search and networking expert Abby Kohut.
The event will be held on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Petrocelli College Auditorium at FDU’s Hackensack campus, 150 Kotte Drive. Kohut -- also known as Absolutely Abby -- will speak from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Fugazzie said that many people need the support.
“Job seeking is very hard. There is a lot of frustration that comes in it,” he said.
“We deal with a lot of career changes, where people have to look at what their skills were in their previous career, and say, ‘Okay, what careers utilize these same skill sets?'” he explained.
Neighbors-helping-Neighbors currently has support groups that meet in the following Bergen and Passaic County locations: Westwood Library; Fort Lee Library; Wayne Library; Bergen Community College; and a Spanish speaking group at Hackensack High School.
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