Bipartisan Legislation in New Jersey Extends Funding for Manufacturing Workforce Development
A recent move by the New Jersey State Senate would provide extended funding for manufacturing workforce development in a state where more than 1 million jobs are supported by the industry. The bipartisan legislation (S.2839), sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal (D-11) and Senator Steven Oroho (R-24), was recently passed by the body and would make a General Fund supplemental appropriation of $250,000 to the Department of State for the purpose of funding the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), Inc.
“A lack of qualified applicants have prevented manufacturers from filling vacant positions at their companies,” said Senator Gopal. “This legislation puts our underserved residents and veterans back to work correlating in maximum productivity for our manufacturers.”
The bill’s cosponsors referenced the Legislature’s recent successes in supporting New Jersey’s $46 billion manufacturing industry, which they say creates 250,000 direct, and 1,000,000 related, jobs. Gopal and Oroho argued that NJMEP has contributed to this success with an 11 to 1 return on investment, including over 32,000 jobs added or saved. NJMEP is now the foremost nationally rated manufacturing extension program. The legislation would also provide direct aid to fund grants in order to employ underserved and underemployed veterans. If the bill becomes law, there would also be an opportunity for the program to receive an additional $250,000 in federal matching funds.
“There is a common misconception that accessing a high-paying job requires an expensive four year degree. That is not the case. Workforce development programs, such as the NJMEP, have produced tangible results for our veterans, unemployed, and underemployed residents. Increasing funding for job training will improve the overall quality of New Jersey’s workforce and give hardworking business owners a larger pool of well-trained, local candidates,” Oroho said.
Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Oroho are members of the bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus.
“NJMEP is very excited to earn its way back into the NJ State Budget through a bill presented by Senator Oroho and Senator Gopal,” NJMEP CEO John Kennedy said. “NJMEP is one of the highest rated MEP’s in the country, and plans to employ the funding to support its apprenticeship programs in conjunction with State partners like the NJ-DOL, CTE Schools, County Colleges, and NJIT”.