MORRIS COUNTY — Having helped thousands of women to gain economic self-sufficiency and fulfilling lives, The Women’s Center at County College of Morris (CCM) recently received a $150,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and Division on Women continuing their support of the center’s mission.
“The Women’s Center offers a full range of comprehensive services to support displaced homemakers with achieving financial independence,” says Director Shannon Lengares. “We do this through goal setting, career counseling, educational and training scholarships, computer skill building, resume and cover letter writing, workshops including financial management, job search strategies, interview preparation and more.”
The center also offers a Job Club Speaker Series, Job Seekers Support Group and connections to community resources. In addition, it offers a legal program that consists of free 30-minute legal consultations with family law attorneys and a divorce workshop series that is offered twice a year. While most of its clients are women, the center’s services also are available to men who meet the displaced homemaker criteri.
Displaced homemakers are individuals who have managed their homes for several years while being financially supported by a spouse, partner or family member and due to divorce, separation, death or disability then find themselves needing to serve as the primary source of household income. In many cases, displaced homemakers are underemployed and unable to financially support themselves or their families. Others may have difficulty obtaining employment due to a gap in work history.
The Women’s Center has been a part of CCM for over 30 years. In the 1970s, when the national divorce rate rose rapidly, many women who had worked primarily in their home, raising a family, suddenly faced the daunting task of obtaining or updating skills and reentering the workforce. In 1979, the New Jersey Displaced Homemakers Act was signed into law by then Governor Brendan Byrne. The act did not appropriate funding but mandated that action be taken to address the issue of displaced homemakers. In 1982, the Vocational Division of the New Jersey Department of Education appropriated startup funds for six displaced homemakers’ centers. Today such centers are found across the state.
If you know someone who could use the services offered through The Women’s Center at CCM or to learn more about the program by clicking here.