TRENTON, N.J. – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space establishing a pilot program providing training for workers looking to enter the job market was approved, with Senate amendments, by the Assembly today.
The bill (S1887/A4164) passed the Assembly in May before the Senate approved it with amendments delaying the program’s expiration date and extending funding through 2023.
“We have to change our approach to training or we will be left behind and our economy will suffer,” said Wirths (R-Sussex), the former commissioner of the state labor department. “People who have been out of work for an extended period can have a difficult time finding jobs because they lack the skills employers demand in today’s changing marketplace.”
The bill directs the labor department to create a year-long career and technical education certification program that will train underemployed and unemployed workers in 10 high-demand industries. The program will offer at least 20 industry-recognized credentials in addition to courses supporting math, literacy and communication and career success skills.
“Well-prepared workers are more productive and innovative. That’s good for business,” said Space (R-Sussex), a small business owner. “This program is all about helping people fill job vacancies and earn higher wages.”
Under the amended bill passed today, the program expires in July 2023 and is funded by the Workforce Development Partnership Fund. The labor department must send a progress report with recommendations to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2023.
“We’re pleased this bill contains a sunset and ensures the Legislature receives a recommendation if we should continue the program,” said Wirths. “Participation is voluntary and funding will be available.”