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The NJBIA Basic Skills Training Program moved one step closer to receiving a minimum of $3 million a year appropriation thanks to legislation approved Monday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The funding would come from the Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skills and be placed in an account dedicated to the NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development. It would be used to administer the Basic Skills Training Program—a successful partnership between NJBIA, the NJ Labor Department and the state’s community colleges.

“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,” said Michael Wallace, NJBIA director for Employment, Labor and Federal Affairs. “This bill provides a predictable and consistent funding source for an important workforce development program.”

The program provides basic skills training for employees at companies of all sizes and at no cost to the employer.

Currently, the program is supposed to receive 13 percent of the total appropriations from the Supplemental Fund. S-3534 (Cunningham, Bateman) would guarantee that the appropriation would equal a minimum of $3 million and provide for extra funding if the percentage falls short of that amount.

The Basic Skills Training Program has offered thousands of classes to help employers provide basic skills training for their employees since its inception in 2007.

To date, it has served over 134,000 employees from over 8,500 private sector companies through 11,449 classes.  Last year, the program served 1,068 businesses, 72 percent of which were small businesses.

“The consortium’s ability to provide the administrative support for the program is the key to its success,” Wallace said. “It is able to handle the paperwork when working with employers as well as provide annual reporting of the program’s ongoing success.”