Manufacturing businesses in the state of New Jersey have an exciting new development to look forward to in the coming year. These businesses will receive preference when the state distributes certain workforce training grants.
New legislation has been developed to ensure manufacturers have access to the programs they need to fill out their ranks. Final legislative approval has just been sent to Gov. Phil Murphy. The only step left is to have Murphy sign the bill into law.
Huge Step Forward for New Jersey Workforce Development
The Assembly unanimously passed A-4023 (DeAngelo, D-13; Houghtaling, D-11) on Monday, November 25, 2019. A-4023 adds manufacturers to a list of categories of employers who receive priority for workforce development funds. Manufacturers are in a position to hire large numbers of individuals but the specialized skills these businesses require are often difficult to source. The state funds can be used to develop programs that will train unemployed, underemployed, or people entering the workforce. These workforce development programs can begin to bolster the manufacturing talent pool and provide more access to these high paying and highly competitive jobs.
“Helping New Jersey employers properly train their workforce will help create, upgrade and retain jobs to which our residents wouldn’t otherwise have access,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “By adding manufacturing employers, we’re opening up a whole new field with a variety of positions that will empower people to become more self-sufficient and employable.”
New Jersey manufacturing clusters produce $156 billion in annual output. The average annual manufacturing industry compensation is currently $92,046. Data pulled from the 2019 NJMEP State of New Jersey Manufacturing Industry Report
“As we saw at the Manufacturing Caucus hearing in South Jersey earlier this fall, finding skilled workers is a huge challenge for manufacturers in this job market,” said NJBIA Vice President for Government Affairs Mike Wallace. “If we want to make New Jersey a place where manufacturers can succeed, we must provide a way for them to find the skilled workers they need.
“This bill would grant manufacturers a preference for the state’s limited amount of job training grants so they can train people for jobs that are available right now and going unfilled,” Wallace said.
New Jersey has been greatly expanding its workforce development support programs in 2019. The Office of Customized Training in the Workforce Development Partnership Program is providing grants to employers and industry groups for training in in-demand jobs to employers and labor. There have been multiple partnerships with higher educational institutions and organizations focused on training military veterans and STEM workers.
Manufacturing is an economic powerhouse for the state, businesses, and workers. The 21st-century manufacturing operation requires a unique skill set that includes a mix of both traditional and modern knowledge and abilities. These skills have all but disappeared and New Jersey is working vigorously to rebuild the talent pool. A-4023 and giving manufacturers priority when it comes to securing state funds allocated for workforce development programs and it will go a long way toward ensuring businesses can continue to thrive and people have access to the training programs they need to fill these roles.