Pathstone Helps Elders Stay On Track With Training And Job Placement
By Jane Primerano
The Hackettstown Senior Center shares its space with a senior service that benefits residents over age 55 throughout the area.
Pathstone is a program in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Vermont, Virginia and Puerto Rico that provides job training and employment services, specifically to farmworkers and seniors, according to its website.
The Hackettstown office specializes in training and job placement for senior citizens, according to a press release. They seek out people 55-years-old or older who meet certain income requirements depending on family size and place them in job training programs with non-profit organizations. The goals are to assist these seniors in upgrading their skills, getting them involved in the community and providing extra income with the ultimate goal of placing them in full-time jobs.
The Pathstone office itself is staffed with program clients. Other organizations that take Pathstone clients are NORWESCAP, the Hackettstown Free Public Library, the Hackettstown Historical Society Museum and area churches and nutrition sites.
Most of the jobs are clerical, Carmella Swayze of the Hackettstown office said, but some of the nutrition center jobs are in the kitchen. All are part-time with a maximum of 15 hours each week, she said. Clients are paid $8.38 an hour, the current New Jersey minimum wage.
Just as people on unemployment must prove they are still seeking a job, clients of Pathstone must continue to look for a job and fill out paperwork testifying to that every pay period, which is every two weeks, Swayze said.
Although ideally clients get work sooner, the maximum duration of the Pathstone program is four years, Swayze said.
During those four years, Pathstone pays the wages of the clients, but the employer provides the training, Swayze said. The ideal situation would be for the host business to hire the clients after the four years is up, she added.
The Hackettstown office is a satellite office to the main one in Paterson, which has several employees, Swayze said. The website also listed one in Vineland. Pathstone shares the Hackettstown office with the town’s office on aging, with each using it certain days out of the week. The office is in the town’s senior citizens’ center off Main Street behind the Hackettstown Community Center.
Part of Swayze’s job is recruitment. She hangs flyers with tear-off phone numbers in non-profits around the county and in churches. She is working to get Pathstone on Comcast’s community bulletin board since most of the county is served by that cable provider. She also tries to spread the word by networking with seniors.
Another part of her job is to interview the seniors who come in with interest in the program and find them the proper job placement with one of the non-profits that participates in Pathstone.
Anyone interested in using Pathstone services or in providing employment can reach the Hackettstown office at 908-747-8494. The state office has an emergency hotline number, 800-624-1432, and can be reached at AskNJ-TrainingEmployment@Pathstone.org.