NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka made her return this week to the Garden State Debate video podcast for a comprehensive discussion on New Jersey’s economic situation as the state emerges from the pandemic.
Siekerka told host Ryan Felmet that the state’s lack of planning regarding what it the more than $6 billion in federal American Rescue Plan available to the state is concerning – particularly given New Jersey’s continued labor shortage.
“We have no idea how that money is going to be spent because there’s no plan,” Siekerka told Felmet. “We don’t plan in New Jersey. We wake up every day and we do block and tackle. There’s no comprehensive plan, which we’ve been calling for and frankly have been very frustrated about as a business community.
“We’ve advanced recommendations to invest this money in workforce development because the jobs of the future are here right now. And we don’t have the skill set in people in order to fill the jobs.
“We have tens of thousands of available jobs all across the state of New Jersey. Either people aren’t coming back to the labor market because they don’t want to take those frontline jobs anymore. But the jobs that require skill are lacking an educated workforce with a skillset needed to fill those jobs. So workforce development is a huge investment that’s needed.”
To listen to the full podcast, click here.