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New Year, New Job: River Edge Man's Jobs Group Helps With Transitions

Neighbors Helping Neighbors founder John Fugazzie stands with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, in 2014.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors founder John Fugazzie stands with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, in 2014. Photo Credit: John R. Fugazzie, via Neighbors-helping-Neighbors Facebook

WESTWOOD, N.J. -- If landing a new job may be one of your New Year's resolutions, a group founded by River Edge resident may be just the tool you need.

"I was very fortunate to find a great networking group in Neighbors Helping Neighbors," said one participant in one of the several local groups. "My only regret is that I didn't join earlier.

"I am now aware how invaluable networking is and I will continue to attend (my local meeting) as often as possible," he added.

NhN is a nationally recognized, peer-led volunteer job-searching and networking group. Group members help each other, offering techniques and suggestions to improve their job search, and support throughout the process.

John Fugazzie founded NhN in 2011 in River Edge, when he began hosting meetings at the River Edge Public Library. The organization will be marking its sixth anniversary on Jan. 27.

The free membership is open to anyone in career transition -- whether unemployed, recent graduates, veterans, those re-entering the job market or struggling small-business owners.

"This culture has members who even though they themselves are in a difficult situation with unemployment come out each week and help others in a similar situation to network, give tips and feedback to help them with their job search," Fugazzie explained.

The key to the NhN group is also a pay-it-forward concept. Participants bring their knowledge and experience with no expectation of immediate return: "There is no expected quid pro quo to this culture, and the act of helping others is selfless," he added.

"What I and many group members have seen is so many examples of how our people who help others see it come back to them in many other ways."

NhN has more than 550 success stories -- and Fugazzie noted that there are probably many more, but some folks don't concretely share their stories.

The group has a large online presence -- with over 4,200 members in its LinkedIn group and 900 members on Facebook -- and it has regular meetings at multiple New Jersey sites. The ones within the Daily Voice coverage area are in Westwood and Wayne.

The Westwood NhN group meets Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Westwood Public Library, 49 Park Ave. Those sessions began in 2011. The Wayne group meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 7 p.m., at the Wayne Public Library, 461 Valley Rd. It's been meeting since 2012.

For more information about NhN, visit its website, Facebook page or LinkedIn group page.

Fugazzie is also teaching a class at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, beginning in February, on successful job-search strategies and skills for career advancement. The class is suitable for those seeking jobs or wanting to create a "strong professional image," as well as workforce professionals.

Click here for the course packet.

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