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The Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) said Tuesday it has awarded $7.9 million in the most recent round of grants to fund programs that create and expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs throughout the state.  

The funds were awarded through the Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) and Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE) grant programs. Since 2018, approximately $60 million has been awarded through grant programs to create and develop work-based learning, pre-apprenticeship, and apprenticeship programs. 

This funding has supported the creation of 678 new Registered Apprenticeship programs in New Jersey – a more than 100% increase – and enabled 17,454 new apprentices to be onboarded. The state currently has 8,611 active apprentices in 1,289 programs.  

“Apprenticeship programs are a win-win for businesses and their workforces,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Through these programs, employers can build lasting talent pipelines and shape the skilled employees they need to stay competitive, while workers earn a wage along with acquiring advanced training to boost their careers.”  

GAINS GRANTS 

In the latest round of funding, a total of $5 million has been awarded to 13 grantees through the GAINS program, with the expectation of placing 1,018 new apprentices in occupations such as cryogenics mechanical technician, K-12 teacher apprentice, wastewater treatment plant operator, robotics technician, and more.  

The GAINS program develops new and existing apprenticeship programs and creates Registered Apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries, with a focus on equality of opportunity, upward mobility, and economic fairness.  

More than two-thirds of GAINS grantees are women or minorities. Women account for about half of GAINS apprentices, greater than five times the statewide average. The GAINS program alone has more than doubled the number of women enrolled in Registered Apprenticeship programs in New Jersey.  

PACE GRANTS 

The PACE program was granted just over $2.9 million to eight awardees to place 470 pre-apprentices in occupations including home healthcare, massage therapy, advanced manufacturing, and fiber optics, among others.  

PACE was developed primarily to alleviate economic barriers that hinder upskilling. Programs provide job readiness, essential skills, and occupation-specific training, and funding that can be used to offer stipends to offset costs of supportive services, such as childcare and transportation.  

“Receiving the Department of Labor PACE grant positively impacts our students, manufacturing partners, the college, and the communities we serve,” said Anthony J. Iacono, Ph.D., president of the County College of Morris, who also serves on the NJBIA Board of Trustees. 

“We are grateful to provide students with opportunities to be educated and trained in manufacturing, develop their resumes through apprenticeship programs, and be placed in jobs earning family sustaining wages.”   

Pre-apprenticeship programs funded through PACE provide education and training to prepare participants for placement into a Registered Apprenticeship program, into a post-secondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or into the workforce. 

PACE programs must be partnered with at least one Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor. Together, the programs expand career pathways with industry-based training and classroom instruction, leading to better-paying positions and advanced credentials. 

For the complete lists of the most recent GAINS and PACE grantees, go here 

For more information about the New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship, go here.