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Singleton, Spencer, Caputo, Mukherji, Taliaferro & Caride Bill to Prepare Workers for Skilled Labor Clears Committee

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, L. Grace Spencer, Ralph Caputo, Raj Mukherji, Adam Taliaferro and Marlene Caride to fortify New Jersey’s skilled labor workforce by training more workers to meet the needs of employers recently was advanced by an Assembly committee.

The bill (A-334) would require the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to reserve 5 percent of the 25 percent of New Jersey Workforce Development Partnership training funds dedicated to assisting displaced workers for the promotion of apprenticeships and apprenticeship programs. The legislation follows a $90 million effort to expand access to apprenticeships nationwide announced by the U.S. Department of Labor in April.

“Apprenticeships are a win-win for those looking to begin a career and for employers seeking talent that can take their businesses to the next level,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “This legislation will help provide New Jersey residents with the knowledge and skills they need to compete and succeed in the 21st century global economy while allowing employers to benefit from the increased productivity of trained workers.”

“With employers across the country struggling to find workers with the right skills, New Jersey has an opportunity to attract businesses by making sure that our residents can fill that gap,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “Making an investment in programs we know lead to good careers is a smart move as we work to build a stronger economy.”

“In today’s marketplace, working in trades like construction and manufacturing requires people to be more skilled and tech-savvy than ever before, so we need a different approach to job training,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “Apprenticeships are an effective way of meeting the needs of modern-day workers and employers alike.”

“New Jersey has employers who need workers and workers who need jobs, but skills mismatches are keeping us from bridging that divide,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “The on-the-job training this funding will support can help more employers secure the talent they need.”

“New Jersey has an economy that requires everyone to be well-educated. For some, the primary setting for that education will be a college campus, but for others, a more hands-on learning experience may be appropriate,” said Taliaferro (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Increasing access to apprenticeships and preparing the workforce for opportunities available in a variety of industries can only strengthen our economy.”

“Apprenticeships give workers the opportunity to showcase unique talents and skills they may not be able to demonstrate in a traditional classroom,” said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Likewise, employers benefit from having access to highly-motivated, hard-working apprentices who will grow with them.”

The Workforce Development Partnership Fund provides training grants to disadvantaged and displaced workers and to employers to offer training to their employees. New Jersey statute dictates that 25 percent of these funds must be used to provide employment and training services for dislocated workers.

The registered apprenticeship model consists of a combination of classroom and related technical instruction (RTI) and on-the-job training. A sponsor, who can be an individual employer or an association of employers, operates the apprentice training programs on a voluntary basis.

The measure was advanced by the Assembly Labor Committee on Monday.