NJMEP Highlights: 2019

Your review of  NJMEP’s milestones, events, and services throughout 2019. This is the chance to look back before moving forward into 2020. Relive some of the most exciting moments the New Jersey manufacturing industry had to offer. Come learn more about the newly developed service offerings and workforce development opportunities that were implemented throughout the year.



For the first time since 2008, NJMEP holds a Line Item in the State Budget. NJMEP secured $500,000 in funding from the state. It is only a third of what NJMEP requested but is still a massive step forward to see the state once again support this critical organization. The opportunity to request additional funding through the Supplemental Funding Process remains.


NJMEP secured the “Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors” (GAINS) grant and the “Pre-apprenticeship in Career Education” (PACE) grant in 2019. These funds have helped support multiple workforce development initiatives to give New Jersey manufacturers access to a newly cultivated pool of talent and structured apprenticeship programs.

The Industrial Manufacturing Production (IMPT) Apprenticeship, IMPT Food Apprenticeship, Technical Sales Apprenticeship, and Pre-Screen testing initiative have all begun in 2019 and will continue throughout 2020.

NJMEP and Essex County Community College developed a partnership to offer college credits to employees enrolled in NJMEP’s USDOL Registered Apprenticeship program. Employers can now offer their apprentices the opportunity to continue their education after they graduate from the apprenticeship program. Intended to provide businesses with a way to upskill and retain employees, NJMEP’s Registered Apprenticeship program both started and expanded over a single year.


Nearly 270,000 children in New Jersey are food insecure. NJMEP, Employment Horizons, and the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) campaign every year to collect food for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. This team brings together manufacturers and the local community to donate non-perishable food items or make direct contributions to the Community FoodBank.

In 2019, the Manufacturing Cares Virtual Food Drive raised $7,247. That’s 21,741 meals provided to food insecure New Jersey children.

To donate visit,

Manufacturers, local businesses, and the community as a whole have incredible potential to make a real impact.

Anyone, especially those in the manufacturing industry has to only give a little to make a massive difference in someone’s life. A few dollars can go a long way in the Manufacturing Cares Food Drive.


NJMEP in partnership with NJIT and NJII is spearheading an initiative to promote cybersecurity and educate  New Jersey manufacturers about new cybersecurity requirements that are intended to preserve the aerospace and defense supplier network. In 2019, NJMEP secured a spot in the OEA grant to provide CyberLink support to New Jersey manufacturers.

Robotics arms with digital screen isolated on blue background 3D rendering

Manufacturers are being supported through this time of economic diversification,   business development, and expansion. NJMEP will be providing cybersecurity certifications to individuals that complete the remediation Bootcamp curriculum.  Companies are engaged across all CyberLink activities through workshops, 1:1 meetings, and complimentary business assessments to identify shortcomings for businesses that musty comply with new minimum cybersecurity rules and regulations.


NJMEP  secured federal funds to help support the continued development of training, workforce development, and upskilling programs specifically designed for New Jersey food manufacturers as well as businesses nationwide. $992,050 has been allotted to expand NJMEP’s food manufacturing and business development services. These funds have been invested into a varying array of business growth services, new food safety and production training offerings, and a nationwide in-depth self-paced online training program for food and beverage manufacturers.

Food and beverage manufacturing requires a unique set of skills. There are countless rules and regulations that apply to companies in charge of producing products intended for human or pet consumption. To provide the most comprehensive service to every manufacturer in the state, NJMEP sought out additional funds to expand its food services. Opportunities developed through the NOFO funding are available by contacting the NJMEP Food Team.



2019 brought New Jersey the  3rd  annual  State of the State Manufacturing Summit. It took place at the Trenton War Memorial in Trenton, NJ. The event began by NJMEP CEO John W. Kennedy taking the stage to welcome manufacturers, legislators, and STEM firms. The conversation quickly turned to discuss the topics that have a direct impact on New Jersey manufacturers.

  • Minimum  Wage     
  • Taxes               
  • Apprenticeships
  • Industry Success • Competition • Education
  • Workforce Development

State of the State continued by focusing on the primary concerns of the state’s manufacturers. This was an opportunity for these businesses to hear from legislators and business leaders on how they plan to support the industry.

Speakers included…

  • Michele Siekerka, President and CEO, NJBIA
  • Senator Linda Greenstein
  • Steve Sweeney, New Jersey Senate President
  • Gail Friedberg, Vice President of ZaGO
  • Tony Russo, President, CIANJ
  • Tim Sullivan, CEO, NJEDA


Each year NJMEP hosts the ‘Made in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day. Coinciding with National Apprenticeship Day which is held on the first Friday of October, manufacturers use the day to show the public the true face of the industry. In New Jersey, NJMEP’s ‘Made in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Day is the largest networking event of its kind. Businesses from all over New Jersey come together to review how far the industry has come and meet like-minded professionals to spark collaboration and drive business forward.

Manufacturing Day is a time to recognize stand-out manufacturers taking incredible steps forward. Five manufacturers took home the coveted “Manufacturer of the Year” title in 2019.

Business owners, representatives from the state, and individuals that are working to inspire students to pursue a career in the advanced manufacturing industry presented keynote speeches. These keynote speakers addressed the concerns of the industry and offered solutions to their mounting challenges before they gear up for the new year. Breakout sessions were spread out throughout the day where manufacturers could learn about the topics that interest them.

Take a look at all the panels, below:

  • Understanding the Impact of Industry 4.0 – A Discussion on Avoiding the Risks of Adoption
  • Real Solutions to Serious Workforce Problems
  • The Value of Blockchain for Manufacturers Involved with Food & Beverage Manufacturing
  • Women in Manufacturing: a Roundtable Discussion on Why Manufacturing  Matters  to  You  and  Why You Matter to the Industry

Over a dozen exhibitors from a wide range of industries were on location. They set up booths to share their services with the over 600 individuals in attendance. Running a manufacturing facility requires a unique set of partners. Those that exhibited their services at the Eighth Annual Manufacturing Day all have extensive experience meeting the specific needs of New Jersey manufacturers.


A beautiful day and the giving nature of the New Jersey manufacturing community led to the Fourth Annual Jersey Guys Golf Outing breaking records. $23,000 was raised on July 26th for the Bob Beaman & Tony DeSantis Scholarship fund. This scholarship is open to Active- Duty, Veterans, and their Families. The money goes to helping selected individuals pursue vocational training and education.

Over 100 people came out in support of the Bob Beaman & Tony DeSantis Scholarship. Golfers had chances to win raffle prizes and competitions including,  closest to the pin and longest drive. Dinner was included and attendees even had the chance to sink NJMEP CEO  John W. Kennedy in a dunk tank.

Special thanks to the Minebrook Golf Club in Hackettstown for hosting the event. Without the event sponsors, the Team Eagle Foundation, and all the incredible work Bob Beaman and Anthony  DeSantis put forth throughout their lives, none of this would have been possible.


2019 marked an important milestone in the representation of New Jersey manufacturers located in the southern half of the state. The Manufacturing Caucus is a Bi-Partition group of legislators that have come together to focus on and address the concerns of manufacturers throughout the Garden State. Up until 2019, the Caucus was held in the north, hindering many manufacturers located in the south from taking part.

On Friday, October 25, New Jersey legislators and South Jersey manufacturers came together at Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC). It quickly became apparent that South and North Jersey manufacturers both have concerns over finding new manufacturing workers.

The day consisted of two-panel discussions, where manufacturers could address the legislators.  Many of the conversations centered around the challenge of keeping their manufacturing operations moving forward in today’s business climate of rigorous global competition and a lack of qualified job candidates. A call for more tax incentives on capital equipment and easier access to programs intended to assist manufacturers doing business within the state was also presented to the Manufacturing Caucus.

Holding the Manufacturing Caucus in southern New Jersey proved extremely fruitful. An issue was presented that many northern manufacturers don’t face, the lack of public transportation. One South Jersey manufacturer stated that they can’t run a second or third shift because public transportation shuts down at 5:00 pm and there aren’t enough routes that allow employees to travel to work.

Manufacturing Caucus Accomplishments, so far™

  • Passage of the ‘Securing our Children’s Future Bonding Act – Supporting CTE Schools
  • Funding Support of NJMEP – 2018 & 2019
  • GAINS & PACE Pre-Apprenticeship & Apprentices Program Bills
  • Workforce Development Job Training Bills
  • Manufacturing Policy Academy Support
  • Sales Tax Exemption Bill – S-515

NJMEP Expands to Provide Solutions to Manufacturers 21st- Century Needs

Manufacturing is a moving target. Business needs grow and evolve. To continue providing the best possible services to clients, NJMEP must grow and evolve along with the industry. There are four areas in which NJMEP paid particular focus to over the past year.


Through the funding provided by the GAINS grant along with NJMEP’s acquisition of exceptional talent from the recruiting and workforce development world, the NJMEP Pro-Action Education Network™ was able to take massive strides forward in 2019. For more on the Pro-Action Education Network™, turn to page 33.

Each month NJMEP Pre-Screen testing where job seekers can come into the office and be assessed on their manufacturing abilities and general aptitude. These candidates are then shared with local manufacturers to help in their recruiting efforts. You can read more about the first success story on page 42.

NJMEP’s USDOL  Registered  Apprenticeship program is moving forward at full steam. 2019 brought about the creation of four separate Industrial Manufacturing Production Technician Apprenticeship cohorts. These cohorts are collections of multiple manufacturing companies that each sponsor at least one employee to take part in an apprenticeship class. To learn more about the Pro-Action Education Network™ and the USDOL Registered Apprenticeship program, turn to page 38.


With over 1,100 Food and Beverage manufacturers in the state of New Jersey, NJMEP  began ramping up efforts to offer more to these businesses. An entire team was assembled that specifically focuses on providing solutions to the unique challenges these manufacturers face.

A new Online Food Safety program has been developed to ensure food and beverage manufacturers have easy access to training. Employees can participate in five self-paced online food safety training courses. These courses include cGMP Requirements & Readiness; Food Allergens; Food Defence; Food Recall and Withdrawal; and HACCP. NJMEP collaborated with the MEP National Network to offer these programs nation-wide as well. Food and Beverage manufacturers across the country can now take part in the self-paced online food safety training program.

NJMEP has greatly expanded the business growth programs and in-person educational workshops to support the New Jersey food and beverage industry. These businesses have a massive responsibility. Their products are designed to be consumed by humans and pets. A properly trained staff is essential. To ensure a company continues to grow, management must be well-versed in best practices, especially those that refer directly to a food and beverage manufacturing operation.


Cybersecurity is no longer a hypothetical. “What if” turned into “when will an attack will occur”. NJMEP is facing this threat head-on. Manufacturers now have access to a dedicated network of resources that work together to create the best defense against cybercriminals.

It takes an all-encompassing business strategy to create a truly cyber-secure manufacturing operation. Both physical and digital threats must be assessed and addressed. Every member of a manufacturing operation that handles any kind of digital technology, from the shop floor to the c-suite, must undergo proper cybersecurity training. Reaction plans must be put into place to give organizations a step-by-step guide on how to handle a cyber breach. No matter how prepared a business may be, a business is never 100% secure.

New cybersecurity regulations are imminent. These rules and regulations will have a direct impact on countless manufacturers throughout the state. NJMEP is now hosting educational training courses on what a manufacturing operation must do to become compliant. NJMEP has taken a proactive approach in 2019 by providing manufacturers with all the resources they will need to face this accelerating threat.


The development and implementation of the NJMEP Pro-Action Education Network™ provided the necessary resources to bolster Open Enrollment and Educational Workshops in 2019. There is a plethora of new Open Enrollment and Educational Courses being offered. NJMEP put in a massive effort behind providing New Jersey manufacturers with training to meet any business need.

Both the number of courses along with the subject matter has been greatly expanded. New food-focused courses, cybersecurity workshops, business growth management training, and Manufacturing Skills Standards Council certification opportunities have been taking place. NJMEP continued to provide critical training like Lean Manufacturing seminars and Six Sigma certifications on top of these new opportunities. 2019 was host to a varying array of industry-centered milestones, events, and educational workshops. Throughout the year, NJMEP works feverishly to offer manufacturers access to resources they need to compete in New Jersey and around the world. These businesses faced new challenges while overcoming imposing obstacles. NJMEP remained committed to its mission and will continue to do so throughout the new year.

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