Legislation Assembly Democrats Joe Lagana, Craig Coughlin, Gabriela Mosquera, Nancy Pinkin and Joe Danielsen sponsored to help residents who have been unemployed for an extended period of time find work was passed by the Assembly on Thursday, giving it final legislative approval.
The bill (A-2926) gives residents who have exhausted all state and federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits priority in state-administered training programs for displaced workers.
“Despite some improvement, New Jersey’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This can help give residents who have been unable to find work for some time and have exhausted their unemployment benefits a leg up.”
The bill requires that at least 50 percent of the training funds for displaced workers be reserved for training and employment programs at community colleges for laid-off workers who have exhausted all UI benefits. This requirement applies to federal job training funds, including training funds under the Workforce Investment Act, to the extent that the requirements do not result in the reduction of the amount of federal funds provided, and grants for training services funded from the state’s Workforce Development Partnership Fund. The bill would apply to fiscal years 2015 through 2018.
“The longer you are unemployed, the harder it can be to find a decent job,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “This can help those residents who have been unemployed for a while get in front of the line and receive the training that can make them viable candidates for employment again.”
“Many people who lost their jobs after the recession have been unable to bounce back and are still without work,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Having no recent job experience can make finding a job that much harder. This can help these residents get over that bridge and back into the workforce.”
“Employers typically look at recent work history when vetting people for a job, which can hurt those who have been unemployed for years,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Helping these folks hone their skills to better their chances of finding a job not only benefits them, but our economy.”
“Living in New Jersey is not cheap. I don’t know how people who have been unemployed for a long time manage to get by,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “Prioritizing the need of these residents can help them get back on their feet so they can provide for themselves and their families.”
The bill, which passed 75-1-2 in the Assembly, now heads to the governor’s desk.