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Boro Resident Dedicates Free Time to Young Job Seekers

In the midst of an economic downturn, Joe Finazzo helped start a networking group for 20-somethings.

In a conference room in the , a group of young professionals gather to get some job hunting tips from experts.

Joe Finazzo and Judy Leane of started the GenY Networking Group for young adults entering the work force during one of the hardest economic times in living memory. They came up with the idea in 2010 while discussing young people they knew who were unable to find work.

"We started talking about networking meetings we were going to, and how there were no young people," Finazzo said. "We did feel there was  a niche for this demographic."

The group caters to members of "Generation Y," that is, to people between the ages of 18 and 33.

Chatham Borough Council Member Len Resto has gotten involved with the group. He said the group "[offers] this service to GenY members who are having a difficult time landing a job."

On Wednesday, the group gathered totaled eight people. Finazzo said it was usually closer to 12, but many college students are studying for finals at this time.

The group, made up of young people both employed and unemployed, gathered to hear tips from Barbara Evanchik. Evanchik used to manage a program for talent development at a worldwide financial institution.

Evanchik worked to recruit recent college graduates to work in financial services. She discussed the best way to break the ice in an interview, good answers to tough interview questions, phone interview tips and what she looked for as a recruiter in a resume.

The group uses the as their home base. Every first and third Wednesday, they gather with guest speakers to discuss how businesses choose who to hire. Other topics include career development, interview and resume tips, getting started on the right foot at your new job, and, of course, networking.

After each meeting, Finazzo collects notes and sends them to the regular members. Students from as far away as Rutgers University have traveled to Chatham for these meetings, and Finazzo said he and his co-founders are currently discussing a southern chapter.

Finazzo described himself as a casualty of the economic downturn. He was downsized in 2009 and found himself looking for work again when the GenY Networking Group started. Now he devotes his free time to helping young people in their own job hunts.

"There are only a few groups around here where this is their target audience," Finazzo said.

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