Legislation Would Establish or Expand Programs in Manufacturing Fields
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Herb Conaway, Bob Andrzejczak, Carmelo Garcia, Wayne DeAngelo and Gabriela Mosquera to establish college programs preparing students to work in the state’s manufacturing industry was recently approved by an Assembly panel.
The bill establishes the “Higher Education Manufacturing Grant Program,” to create or expand programs and curricula in the fields of manufacturing, manufacturing engineering, and advanced manufacturing. The program will be administered by the Secretary of Higher Education.
“Companies are constantly seeking the next generation of their manufacturing workforce,” Singleton (D-Burlington). ‘This legislation is an opportunity to enhance collaboration and partnerships between the state’s higher education system and the private sector and prepare the next generation to meet the needs of the manufacturing industry now and in the future.”
“Manufacturing education programs prepare students for the 21st century global workforce by focusing on talent development specifically for this industry,” Conaway (D-Burlington). “They give New Jersey students a competitive advantage in manufacturing and prepare them for rewarding careers.”
Under the program, a public institution of higher education that wishes to be considered for a grant will submit an application to the secretary, which includes a complete description of the institution’s specific plans and objectives for the use of the grant funds. The secretary will establish selection criteria and will award grants through a competitive process based upon review o the applications and subject to the availability of funds. The secretary will establish the amount for each grant that is approved.
“Increasing job growth and remaining competitive means we must be aware of how critically important it is for manufacturers to have access to employees with an advanced skill set,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “A workforce that is able to fill these jobs is vital to spurring economic growth. Supporting and encouraging manufacturing and educational programs will do exactly that.”
“Establish and expanding manufacturing education programs in colleges and universities will prepare New Jersey’s workforce to meet the needs of the manufacturing industry,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “Developing through education the state’s potential manufacturing industry workforce will help to strengthen New Jersey’s competiveness in the global market.”
“Partnerships between the manufacturing industry and higher education institutions strengthen pathways to careers,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “When we prepare students for a future job fully understanding the needs of an industry, we secure meaningful career opportunities for them and help to build a stronger economy for New Jersey.”
“Manufacturing is a fast-paced and ever-changing industry, especially in today’s more technology-driven atmosphere,” said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “The intent of this bill is to equip students with a particular knowledge that will help them not just keep up but excel in a rapidly growing manufacturing industry.”
Under the bill, the program will be funded by the “Higher Education Manufacturing Grant Fund,” created within the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. The fund will be annually credited with money appropriated by the state, any monies received by the state from corporate donors or other private sector support, and any federal funds which may become available for higher education and manufacturing purposes.
The bill was released by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee on May 7.