FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Need a job? What about the jobs that need you?

A new partnership with New Jersey’s labor department, employers and colleges is hoping to bridge the unemployment gap.

Christine Ruggiero, 43, of Howell, was at a crossroads. She didn’t know where to turn next for a decent paying job, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.

“I used to be an electrician in the city for about 10 years,” Ruggiero said.

She needed a change.

“I had to seek something in a professional environment, no longer hard on the body, and actually with a job opportunity out there,” she said.

 

New Jersey’s new program was there to help.

“Making sure we are training people for jobs now and jobs that will exist in the future,” Aaron Fichtner, acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor, said.

He said you don’t necessarily need a four-year college degree.

Ruggiero was directed toward medical assistant training, enrolling in an 11-month program at Brookdale Community College.

“Every student that wants a job has a job when they graduate,” professor and RN Tina Shymko pledged.

She is on track to make more than $15 an hour, and hospitals and other medical facilities, like walk-in clinics, are hiring.

“Medical assistants, EKG, nursing assistants, home health aides, a lot of opportunities out there,” job placement specialist Scott Shanes said.

So what other industries are growing in the state?

“Last June, Brookdale began their massage therapy program — another in-demand occupation in New Jersey,” job placement specialist Greg Mensa said.

Many employers say computer training is a must. If you know the software and can design a website, you are a hot commodity.

“Seeing incredible growth in advanced manufacturing construction financial services, many good opportunities but critically important people get education and training valued by employers,” Fitchner said.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in September, a stark improvement from the recession.

The Department of Labor estimates that 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require some sort of certificate by 2020.

The Industry-Valued Credential List includes 198 credentials and degrees from a wide range of industries that are considered the most in-demand in New Jersey.