Who We Are

The New Start Career Network (NSCN), a program serving New Jersey’s older, long-term unemployed job seekers, is operated by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, a national policy and research center based at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

NSCN-logo-revised.jpgSince its founding in 1997, the Heldrich Center has been documenting the challenges facing long-term unemployed and older job seekers. These challenges are especially acute in New Jersey, where 4 in 10 unemployed job seekers — over 125,000 individuals — have been out of work six months or longer.
With support from several private foundations and a wide array of community partners, the Heldrich Center has developed NSCN to connect New Jersey job seekers to a mix of free-of-charge services to help them meet their employment needs and address their personal and financial challenges. These services include job search information and advice; career coaching provided by a network of trained, volunteer coaches; access to education and training; and referrals to mental health and financial advising. We are also engaging public, private, and nonprofit employers to hire qualified NSCN members and reform hiring practices to help New Jersey’s long-term unemployed job seekers. 

Major funding for the New Start Career Network was contributed by the Philip and Tammy Murphy Family Foundation. Additional support has been provided by New Jersey Resources, Amazon, The Fund for New Jersey, the Corporation for National and Community Service/New Jersey Volunteer Generation Fund, the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and Rutgers Career Services - New Brunswick.


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Michele Martin

[email protected]
Michele Martin is Director of the New Start Career Network and Director of Technical Assistance at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. She is a certified Career Development Facilitator Instructor with over 20 years of experience in career coaching and workforce development program development. Michele works closely with our team of volunteer career coaches and manages the placement of NSCN members with our coaches. She is President of The Bamboo Project, Inc. where she focuses on individual and organizational capacity building, coaching, training, and program design to build career resilience. She has a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College. 
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Carl Van Horn

[email protected] 848.932.4100
Carl Van Horn is Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers University and Director of the Heldrich Center. He is a widely recognized expert on workforce, human resources, and employment policy issues with extensive experience in public and private sector policymaking. He is a member of the university’s graduate faculties of planning and public policy, management and labor relations, education, and political science. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science/Public Policy from Ohio State University.
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Robb C. Sewell

[email protected] 848.932.1489

Robb C. Sewell is Communications Project Manager at the Heldrich Center. He manages NSCN's communications and events, edits NSCN materials, and also serves as the contact for technical issues relating to the NSCN website. Previously, Robb managed communications at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Robb is also an adjunct professor at both Rutgers University and Drexel University. He has a Bachelor’s in English from Rutgers University and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Rosemont College.

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Heather Allen

[email protected] 848.932.1078
Heather Allen is a Program Coordinator at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development where she focuses on research, events, and communications for the center, as well as New Start Career Network (NSCN). Prior to this position, Heather was a Project Manager with the Health Care Talent Network and was responsible for managing the state's Southern Region Targeted Industry Partnership (TIP). She also has experience as the Program Manager with the Transportation, Logistics and Distribution Talent Network and spent four years as a key member of the TLD TN team at the Heldrich Center. She has worked for SMLR, the Heldrich Center, and other research centers at Rutgers for 15 years. Her expertise includes researching and writing reports on industry trends; program marketing, including social media; employer development; presentations to job seekers and employers; and managing program data and information. She has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Developmental and Educational Psychology, both from Boston College.