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Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a law committing $3 million to a program run by the New Jersey Community College Consortium (NJCCC) that provides basic skills training to workers at no tuition cost to them or their employers. 

“NJBIA thanks Governor Murphy for signing this bill into law as it ensures, the state’s Basic Skills Training program can continue its success in developing the workforce for employers throughout the state at a critical time when workforce development is needed,” NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka said Monday after the bill signing. 

The Basic Skills Training Grant Program was created in 2007 as a partnership between NJBIA, NJCCC and the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL), and to date has provided basic skills training to more than 185,000 workers. Community college instructors provide training in classes on campuses, or at the employer’s facility. 

Under this successful partnership, the NJCCC manages the program, NJBIA does outreach to companies whose employees can be helped by training, and the NJDOL provides funding and fiscal oversight. To date, approximately 11,000 employers have used the program to help workers improve written and verbal communication skills, learn English as a second language, upgrade their math and computer skills and more. 

In addition to the increased funding floor for the program, the new law also expanded the definition of “basic skills training” eligible for this funding to include literacy with new technology and support for entry-level managers.

The program is open to all private-sector New Jersey companies and their workers. 

The legislation, A-3027/S-793, was unanimously passed by both houses of the Legislature in June. The bills’ sponsors are Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-6); Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27); Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-11); Sen.  Sandra Cunningham (D-31) and Sen. Troy Singleton (D-7).  

“NJBIA worked very closely with the sponsors, who we also express our thanks to, and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges to support this bill,” Siekerka said.