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An NJBIA-led bill that would create a more comprehensive and multi-faceted plan to improve the quality of New Jersey’s manufacturing workforce advanced into Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk on Monday.

NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka said the “Manufacturing in Higher Education Act” (A-2014/S-659) is a huge priority for NJBIA and NJMEP in their continuing Manufacturing Counts partnership.

“Manufacturers are key to our state economy and job creation,” Siekerka said. “Manufacturing also has much stronger wages and benefits than other industries and has a robust multiplier effect on the rest of the state’s economy. And in this industry that often does not require a college degree, finding a skilled workforce is often a great challenge.

“This bill addresses manufacturing workforce deficiencies by aligning many of the critical players in the workforce development space in government, higher education and K-12 and it will focus them on meeting the needs of manufacturers in many ways. We foresee New Jersey’s manufacturing sector benefiting greatly from this bill should it be signed into law.”

Other ways the bill addresses manufacturing workforce needs includes:

  • Aligning government, education and training providers to manufacturing pathway offered through the New Jersey Community College Consortium’s new Pathways to Career Opportunities program.
  • Establishing a $10 million grant program to support manufacturing workforce development programs for education and training providers and promoting manufacturing career awareness
  • Creating a manufacturing liaison in the New Jersey Business Action Center Directing state government to be more responsive to the needs of the manufacturing industry
  • Establishing a Manufacturing Council in the State Employment Training Commission