Legislation Would Support Employers Who Contract With Military, Train Veterans
Legislation Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Bob Andrzejczak, Cleopatra Tucker, Herb Conaway and R. Bruce Land sponsored to support businesses and workforce tied to New Jersey’s five military installations gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
“Our military installations clearly play an important role when it comes to national defense, but when you consider the thousands of jobs tied to the military, the businesses that support the installations and the billions of dollars in revenue that the installations generate, the local economic significance of New Jersey’s military installations is irrefutable,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex), vice-chair of the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Any legislation that supports our installations, therefore, will have a positive impact on our state as a whole.”
New Jersey’s military installations provide 45,631 direct jobs and 27,603 indirect jobs, according to the July 2015 Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force report. The bases add $6.5 billion of wealth to the state’s gross domestic product and create $9.6 billion in business revenues.
The bill (A-2517) would give preference for Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) grants to employers who provide equipment, supplies or services to military bases and installations pursuant to a procurement or military contract with the United States Department of Defense, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or any branch of the United States Armed Forces.
The bill stems from the recommendations of the task force report. The task force was created by executive order upon the urging of the New Jersey Council on Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs, on which DeAngelo serves.
“This legislation will help ensure that New Jersey’s defense-related industries have the employees they need to continue supporting our state’s military installations,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), a U.S. Army veteran who was wounded in Iraq. “Training is central to meeting the long-term needs of military installations.”
“In addition to being critical to our national defense, military installations generate significant economic growth in New Jersey,” said Tucker (D-Essex), chair of the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Directing training grants to defense-related employers, therefore, ultimately will benefit the state as a whole.”
The measure also would extend preference to employers who focus on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields or provide training to veterans.
“The STEM fields always have been at the foundation of the military and the defense industry, and the demand for individuals with STEM skills will only increase into the future,” said Conaway (D-Burlington), who served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. “This legislation will ensure that New Jersey is equipped to meet that growing demand.”
“Veterans developed unmatched skills and expertise while in the military that can be of great service in civilian employment,” said Land (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam. “Using this funding to refine the skills they already have will ease their transition to civilian life while also benefiting our state’s economy.”
The five military installations located throughout New Jersey are: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington and Ocean counties; Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County; United States Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County; Air National Guard 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic County; and United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May County.
The bill passed the Assembly unanimously. It now awaits further Senate consideration.