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On behalf of our member companies that provide more than 1 million jobs in the state and make the New Jersey Business & Industry Association the largest statewide business association in the country, I am writing to express our strong SUPPORT for A5163.

The bill would provide a minimum allocation of $3 million from the Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skills (SWFBS) to an account in that fund dedicated to the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development (Consortium) to provide the Basic Skills Training Program.

Since its inception in 2007, the Basic Skills Training Program has offered thousands of classes to help employers provide basic skills training for their employees.  Through a public-private partnership with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Consortium, community colleges around the state have supported New Jersey companies and their workforce, regardless of size and at no cost to employers.

Our members have expressed a high level of satisfaction from the program and due to its unique flexibility, the program is able to reach more workers and employers than any other state training program.  To date, the Basic Skills Program has served over 134,000 employees from over 8,500 private sector employers through 11,449 classes delivered.  Last year, of the 1,068 businesses served 72 percent were small businesses. 

Additionally, the Consortium’s ability to provide the administrative support for the program is key to its success.  The Consortium is able to handle the paperwork when working with employers as well as provide annual reporting of the program’s ongoing success.  The annual report currently includes the total number of workers trained, employer size, wage ranges of the workers and the results of the pre-training and post-training assessments.

A5163 would provide a predictable and consistent funding source for an important workforce development program provided by the Consortium and in partnership with NJBIA as well as other statewide business organizations.  For these reasons, NJBIA supports the bill and we encourage you to vote “YES” on A5163.

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