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As the New Jersey Legislature gears up for its lame-duck session following this week’s election, and before the end of the 2020-2021 legislative session in a few months, NJBIA, the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) and the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus that both associations helped create is is hoping for a few more pro-manufacturing bills to become law.

NJBIA has been working with NJMEP and the co-chairs of the Manufacturing Caucus, Senators Linda Greenstein and Mike Testa, to prioritize the manufacturing legislation they will advocate for over the next few months, which has already moved this session and can help manufacturers.

With one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, a workforce crisis that is impacting manufacturers, a supply chain crisis as well and a focus on economic recovery after the devastation wrought by the pandemic, NJBIA hopes the following bills will help our manufacturers and the whole economy:

NJBIA was disappointed to see A-4803/S-2991 – Sumter (D-35); Karabinchak (D-18); Pinkin (D-18); DeCroce (R-26); Zwicker (D-16); Greenstein(D-14); Oroho (R-24); Addiego (D-8); Pou (D-35) conditionally vetoed by Gov. Phil Murphy, but we still hope its now watered-down version will gain final passage to support manufacturers in our state making personal protective equipment.

In addition to manufacturers being better able to help in the pandemic with the above bill, workforce development is one of the most critical needs for manufacturers, and there is hopefully help on the way.

The “Manufacturing in Higher Education Act”, S-3216/A-5088 – Oroho (R-24); Greenstein (D-14) / A-5088 Conaway (D-7); Wirths (R-24); Zwicker (D-16), passed the Senate Higher Education Act back in the spring, and now NJBIA wants the bill to move the rest of the way. This bill would support collaborative work to establish manufacturing career pathways, provide grants to higher education institutions to support manufacturers workforce needs and create research and development fellowships in higher education to support manufacturers.

NJBIA also believes in the power of apprenticeships to address some of the workforce needs of manufacturers, and some bills that were part of the Senate Democratic apprenticeship bill package still remain unsigned. These bills have all passed Senate Labor Committee this session, and NJBIA is hoping they move the rest of the way.

  • S-688 Ruiz (D-29); Singleton (D-7) / A-3803 Armato (D-2); Zwicker(D-16) – Enhances and allocates funds for pre-apprenticeship programs
  • S-689 Ruiz (D-29); Singleton (D-7) / A-3053 Lampitt (D-6) – Allocates $300,000 for NJ PLACE program to provide college credit towards degrees for apprenticeship programs
  • S-1158 Ruiz (D-29); Pou (D-35) / A-2691 Armato (D-2); Huttle (D-37); DeAngelo (D-14) – Provides tuition fee waiver apprenticeship courses for low-income apprentices
  • S-1159 Ruiz (D-29); Greenstein (D-14) / A-1639 Stanfield (D-8); Peters (D-8); Murphy (D-7) – Provides tax credits for businesses that employ apprentices in DOL registered apprenticeships

Lastly, on a non-legislative front, NJBIA continues to work closely with New Jersey’s community colleges on a workforce development program that will feature manufacturing. The community colleges’ NJ Pathways to Career Opportunities program will feature a Manufacturing & Supply Chain collaborative with a Manufacturing Center of Excellence, and it will hopefully help bring awareness to and develop future workers for the important New Jersey manufacturing industry.

NJBIA looks forward to continuing to advocate for this industry that is critical to New Jersey.