Measures Will Grant College Credits for NJ PLACE Coursework; Help Provide Basic Skills Training to Displaced, Disadvantaged Workers
(TRENTON) — Two bills Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt sponsored to help workers gain essential skills training were signed into law today by Acting Governor Stephen M. Sweeney.
The first new law will formally recognize college-level learning taking place in union apprenticeship training programs and award credits toward either two-year associates degrees or four-year baccalaureate degree programs by establishing a New Jersey Pathways Leading Apprentices to a College Education, or NJ PLACE program.
Under the Lampitt/Egan measure (A-4327), public colleges and universities will be required to treat the coursework of each NJ PLACE associate in the same manner as it would classes taken by a student seeking to transfer previously completed college credits.
“In this economy it is not always a possibility to graduate from high school and attend a four-year, or even a two-year, college right away,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “Kids today work hard to complete apprenticeships, they work hard to complete college-level classes to fulfill their class work, but they receive no credit and find themselves, literally, taking and paying for those same classes again when they do enter college.”
The NJ PLACE program is operated by the State Employment and Training Commission, and its funding comes from various grants.
The second new law will provide funding for a basic skills training consortium operated through the state’s county and community colleges.
Lampitt’s “New Jersey Basic Skills Training Program for Economic Growth Act” (A-2325) will replace the current system of grants provided to the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development with a direct dedication of 13 percent of funds from the state’s Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skills.
The fund provides financing for the state’s One Stop Career Centers, Workforce Investment Boards and Office of Customized Training.
The consortium is part of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges and provides basic skills training to qualified displaced, disadvantaged or employed workers.
“New Jersey’s county and community colleges already do a tremendous job of providing basic skills training to workers, but have been funded through inefficient means,” said Lampitt. “Allowing this consortium to have direct access to funds in the same manner other basic skills programs do simply makes sense. In this economy, when many workers are looking to refocus their energies into different fields to make a living, the more access they have to training programs the better off their future prospects.”
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