You worked for years at the same job. Your attendance record was stellar, your productivity unrivaled. You were a valued employee - until you weren't.
Now you send out resume after resume, chasing the job that will let you feed, clothe and house your family, and maintain your sense of worth. The resumes yield ... nothing.
Welcome to the ranks of the long-time unemployed.
Since the recession of 2008, those ranks have swelled, particularly in New Jersey. And the outlook is grim: One study found that job-seekers who had been out of work for eight months received a call-back for interviews only about half as often as candidates who had been laid off for a month.
Another poll, this one by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revealed that chances of landing a job decrease significantly after six months of unemployment.
Meanwhile, CEOs of dozens of industries - high-paying industries -- are desperate for adequately trained workers but find it almost impossible to fill that demand.
If only there were a way to bring these two elements together ...
Meet Troy Singleton and Linda Greenstein, would-be matchmakers looking to create a mechanism to make it easier for employers to identify qualified workers, and vice versa.
The two Democratic state senators - Singleton from Burlington County and Greenstein from Middlesex County - are sponsoring a bill designed to provide short-term training in mathematical, literacy or technical skills for people who have been out of work for way too long.
The lawmakers envision a pilot program that would include at least 20 industry-recognized certificate programs, which a participant would be able to complete within 12 months.
Under the legislation, county colleges, county vocational school districts and adult education programs could choose to implement one of more of the certificate programs.
Preference would be given to training for industries on the state's Demand Occupation List, compiled annually by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Included on the list are such positions as administrative assistant, customer service representative, food preparer, tractor-trailer truck driver and teacher's assistant.
Not only would this training benefit prospective employees and the companies that hire them, but it would also be a shot in the arm for the state's economy, Singleton notes in his newsletter to constituents.
The sad truth is that many Garden State residents continue to struggle a decade after the recession hit hardest. For them, and for their families, the program outlined in the Greenstein-Singleton bill would be a godsend.