Some 223 New Jersey businesses will share more than $3 million in New Jersey Labor Department grants to upgrade the skills of their frontline employees.
Grantees – in the fields of manufacturing, health care, packaging, food, and more – will each receive $18,000 to $250,000 through UPSKILL: NJ Incumbent Worker Training Grants, the Labor Department announced today.
The competitively awarded funding is designed to support New Jersey businesses in acquiring a skilled workforce by defraying the costs associated with upskilling frontline employees to meet current and future needs of high-wage, middle- and high-skill jobs. All grants are a minimum of 50 percent employer match, meaning New Jersey businesses are equally committed to this investment in their workforce.
In all, 223 businesses and 8,455 employees at these companies are expected to receive training. Some of the training contracts were awarded to individual companies, while others were to consortiums consisting of multiple businesses in the same sector, such as advanced manufacturing.
“I hear from employers every day how difficult it is in an almost full-employment economy to find workers with the skills the companies need to stay competitive,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “We believe these grants will make a big difference to employers who need skilled workers to fill orders and provide services, and employees who need to keep their skills current to maintain and advance their careers.”
One grantee, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, proposed providing next-generation training beyond the traditional core training covered in an apprenticeship. Journeyman-level workers will be trained in the use of drones for large-scale crane operations and operating remote control cranes. They will receive a new credential upon completion.
Another grantee, Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association, is actually a consortium of businesses that do business in the Port of Elizabeth. Together, they plan to train port maintenance workers in welding, hydraulics, and electrical work.
Grant funds are intended to achieve measurable outcomes for employees trained, such as attainment of an industry credential or wage growth, and to “seed” occupational skills training. The grants are not intended to supplement the type of training that would occur without grant assistance.