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The state Department of Labor & Workforce Development is marking National Apprenticeship Week in New Jersey at events with various business, trade and education and vocational organizations to highlight the critical role that apprenticeships have in developing career paths for in-demand jobs.

The Department will also hold technical assistance webinars this month about apprenticeship grants available to employers, trade associations, labor unions, public high schools and vocational schools, two- and four-year higher education institutions, workforce development boards, nonprofit, economic development and community organizations, and others.

“Apprenticeship programs play a critical role in the strength of our state’s workforce and have consistently proven to be a vital solution to developing talent in areas where we need it most,” said state Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Apprentices can be found in virtually any realm, from HVAC to human resources, from the pharmacy to fusion energy research, and so many more.”

NJDOL is holding free virtual technical assistance workshops on Friday, Nov. 18 and Tuesday, Nov. 29 for organizations interested in applying for funds under the Pre-Apprenticeships in Career Education (PACE) grant program. A total of $2 million is available. PACE programs help out-of-school youth, adults and incumbent workers, who often face economic barriers to upskilling, prepare for careers in one of the state’s high-growth industries, such as nursing or trucking.

“The New Jersey Pre-Apprenticeships in Career Education program is an impactful training opportunity that provides education and career pathways to students and adult learners before they enter registered apprenticeships, attend institutions of higher education, or enter the workforce,” said Catherine Frugé Starghill, executive director of the New Jersey Community College Consortium (NJCCC) for Workforce and Economic Development, a PACE grantee.

“With the generous grant funding for this program, New Jersey Community Colleges have provided manufacturing and healthcare industry credentials to participants and are pleased to partner with the New Jersey Department of Labor in this critically important work,” Starghill said.

Letters of intent to apply for PACE grants are due by noon on Dec. 30, and the application deadline is noon on Jan. 6, 2023.

In Fiscal Year 2022, which ended June 30, NJDOL distributed $6.7 million through three grant programs that support the growth of registered apprenticeship across the state. These include grants through the PACE program, which awarded $1,078,000; Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS), which awarded $4,636,000; and Youth Transitions to Work (YTTW), which awarded $1,034,000.

In total, 24 contracts were awarded under these programs, contributing to the recruitment of 1,214 apprentices.

For more information about the New Jersey Office of Apprenticeships, as well as available grant opportunities, go here.

About the PACE Grant Program

The Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE) program provides education and training needed for occupation-specific training. Funding can be used to offer stipends to offset the costs of supportive services, such as childcare and transportation. Programs funded through PACE provide education and training to prepare participants for placement into a registered apprenticeship program, a post-secondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or into the workforce. Programs span a variety of sectors, including healthcare, practical nursing, and truck driving.