By a vote of 67-1, the General Assembly on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and Bob Andrzejczak urging the federal government to expedite a grant that will help displaced workers in Atlantic County get the training and education needed to find gainful employment after the recent closure of numerous Atlantic City casinos.
The resolution (AR-192) urges the United States Department of Labor to approve the state’s proposal for a National Emergency Grant submitted by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to fund employer-driven workforce training and education programs for employees in the Atlantic County region.
“The type of effective training that will be provided through this grant is necessary for the Atlantic County region to regain a strong economic footing,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “While unemployment benefits are available to many of these displaced workers, these benefits are temporary, and ultimately these displaced workers will need training and education so that they match the knowledge and skills required for reemployment in today’s workforce. It’s crucial that consideration and approval of the state’s grant application be expedited in order to help these workers as soon as possible.”
“Funding is necessary for these workforce training and education programs in order to provide displaced workers with vital assistance in preparing for new employment opportunities and developing skills for in-demand occupations,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “Expedited approval of this application will ensure that thousands of New Jersey workers are able to return to work, provide for themselves and their families, and once again experience the dignity and pride that comes with holding steady employment.”
The sponsors noted that in recent months several large casinos have closed their operations in Atlantic City, leaving roughly 8,000 New Jersey workers unemployed. The closure of Revel, Showboat, Trump Plaza and the Atlantic Club casinos, and the potential for more worker displacement from the closure of other casinos and related businesses, presents a crisis for the economy of the entire Atlantic County region.
In response, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development submitted a comprehensive application for a National Emergency Grant to help address this issue. The funding from the grant would be used in coordination with local workforce investment boards to help provide training and education programs.
Copies of the resolution will now be filed with the Secretary of State and transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor and each member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation.