(TRENTON) — Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) issued a multimedia package Wednesday discussing her revamped “Back to Work NJ” job creation and economic growth program.
The measure (A-4332), which would allow unemployed New Jerseyans to receive on-the-job training from potential employers, remains a centerpiece of the Democratic legislative efforts to create jobs and reinvigorate the state’s economy. A previous version of the measure was approved by the Legislature in January but vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie in February, despite the success of a similar program in Georgia and the inclusion of the concept in the President’s job creation package.
The bill permits eligible unemployed New Jerseyans to continue receiving unemployment insurance benefits while placed in on-the-job training with an eligible employer for a maximum of 24 hours per week for up to six weeks. It provides each trainee up to $100 a week to help defray training-related costs and is voluntary for both workers and employers.
The measure, based on the successful Georgia Work$ program, was approved 47-32 by the General Assembly Monday along party lines, with Democrats supporting the measure and Republicans opposed.
The multimedia package consists of a video of Speaker Oliver discussing the merits of her legislation and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from Speaker Oliver is appended below:
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex):
“‘Back to Work New Jersey’ will enable an unemployed person — voluntarily, for a six-week period — to continue to receive their [unemployment insurance] benefits but be assigned in an employer’s workplace to get access to a new skill set.
“Two-and-a-half-million dollars, in my estimation, is not that much to ask for in an environment in our state when we’ve got more than half a million unemployed people who need some ability to get into a new occupation or career. It is a win-win for employers as well because, for those employers that want to hire someone, they have an opportunity to try this person out for a six-week period, to see if that potential candidate would be a good fit for them. So it’s a win-win all around.
“I think that we have, in the past several months, passed a number of employment-related, business growth/business expansion bills. We have provided tax credits to a number of large corporations in this state.
“I think that investing $2.5 million in unemployed people in this state is not too much to ask.”