Assembly Panel OKs Democratic Legislation to Create Program to Train Students for Manufacturing Jobs

Singleton, Conaway, Andrzejczak, Mazzeo, Garcia and Mosquera Bill Would Require Development of “Manufacturing Career Pathway”

An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Bob Adrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Carmelo G. Garcia and Gabriela Mosquera to help prepare today’s generation to lead a manufacturing renaissance in New Jersey.

“The manufacturing industry has always been the embodiment of the American ideal that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can provide for your family today and for their brighter future tomorrow,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Workers in manufacturing jobs earn 22 percent more in annual pay and benefits than the average worker in other industries, which translates into $40,000 more than other non-farm employees in New Jersey. We need to refocus our attention on the enormous potential of this industry and how we can prepare our residents to lead it.”

The lawmakers noted that every new manufacturing job created would add another 1.6 jobs to the local service economy, and for every dollar in manufacturing sales, another $1.34 is added to the economy. Additionally, 42 percent of jobs in manufacturing will require some post-secondary education or degree by 2018, according to findings from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

“We’ve seen unparalleled ingenuity born out of our country’s manufacturing legacy,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “New Jersey can be at the forefront of a manufacturing renaissance if we invest now in giving the next generation the tools needed to reignite this industry and create good-paying jobs once again.”

The bill (A-3020) would require the state Secretary of Higher Education, to design a manufacturing career pathway to be offered through the county colleges and county vocational school districts to provide students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing with the instruction and skills necessary to gain employment in the industry.

The secretary would work in consultation with the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the New Jersey Council of County Vocational Schools and representatives from the business community.

“I think Democrats and Republicans alike will agree on the enormous power and potential the manufacturing industry has long demonstrated in this country,” said Andrzejczak (Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “It’s time to reinvest in this potential and arm today’s generation with the skills to help kick start a manufacturing renaissance in New Jersey.”

“With New Jersey’s economy still lagging behind neighboring states and the rest of the country, we have to be more aggressive in our approach towards driving jobs and economic opportunity in our state,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “The one sector that has enormous potential to create new jobs and accelerate our recovery is the manufacturing industry so we need to invest in creating a skilled work force to tackle these jobs.”

Under the bill, the manufacturing career pathway will include traditional and advanced manufacturing processes and methods of production including, but not limited to, the machinery, technology, tools, and equipment used in a wide range of manufacturing industries.

“Investments in manufacturing have a stronger impact than investments in any other economic sector when it comes to growing our economy, but we need a workforce that’s prepared to fill these positions,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “Creating jobs in this area will help us narrow the growing income inequality gap that has gripped our nation over the last thirty years.”

“Investments in manufacturing have a much broader impact on local economies than investments in any other industry,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We need to focus on policies that will allow our state to tap into the enormous potential of this industry in order to create stable, good-paying jobs for future generations.”

The measure was approved by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.