Legislators are pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage in New Jersey, but that is not the solution that low-wage workers need, according to business groups.  As NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka explained to NJ101.5 News Radio, “It’s absolutely more than just handing someone a $15 an hour paycheck. We need to look at where’s the role of building someone’s skills.”

NJBIA and other business groups disagree that a higher minimum wage will boost the economy. Siekerka stressed if there’s a big increase in the minimum wage, it will hurt businesses, especially smaller ones. Before raising the minimum wage so dramatically, “we need to have a discussion focused on a comprehensive solution, on how to lift the wages of a low-wage earner,” she said.

NJBIA has long advocated workforce training as a way to boost wages. New Jersey businesses, like many across the country, are facing a significant shortage of skilled workers, with job openings going unfilled. Programs like “65 by ’25” are designed to improving employees’ skills to make their services more in demand.

4 responses to “Building Skills, Not $15 Minimum Wage, Will Help Low-wage Workers   ”

  1. Harman says:

    It will hurt small business
    Many businesses will shutdown

  2. Jill says:

    I am working on expanding my small business. Headed to PA for that. I have no interest in paying 15-18 year olds (or anyone) who cannot even sweep a floor or understand basic life skills and are willing to learn but have to be taught everything. I love the kids who work for me and they earn their increases with skill building. They start at minimum and are in control of their own destiny. I will not even make a profit worth keeping my retail store if I have to pay entry level employees $15.00 per hour. I would take home no more than a manager. No thank you. A small business is 24/7, 100% risk and responsibiliy is all mine with my entire life dedicated to it. That is worth more than a managers pay and I could get a job with no responsibility for that! I like the creative ideas to skill build and it works for me.

  3. Scot says:

    I have a manufacturing business in NJ. We start employees at $10/hr., and if they demonstrate good ability, it increases quickly. I also have PT workers who have time/attendance issues, or skill issues that don’t move up. With Universal Robots starting at $20k, It will be time to replace some of those workers. Also no more paid internships; sorry students, remember to thank your legislators in November for the lost opportunities…

  4. Robert says:

    Anyone working at a legitimate job, at whatever level, should earn enough to be above the poverty line. That is not true with New Jersey’s current minimum wage. It should be increased immediately to at least $10/hr. Most workers at the minimum wage are NOT high school kids saving up for the prom. The average age of minimum wage workers is 32.