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The New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) today urged Governor Christie to sign legislation that would provide an annual $3 million appropriation for the Basic Skills Training program to the NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development (NJCCC).

The Legislature passed S-3534 (Cunningham, Bateman)/A-5163 (Lampitt, Vanieri Huttle) yesterday, sending it to the governor’s desk for consideration.

“The Basic Skills Training program has made employee training accessible to thousands of small businesses,” said NJBIA Vice President Michael Wallace.  “In fact, its unique flexibility allows the program to reach more workers and more businesses than any other state training program. It’s a benefit for both employers and their employees.”

The Basic Skills Training Program is a public-private partnership between the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development and NJCCC with support from NJBIA and other business organizations. Since its inception in 2007, over 134,000 employees from over 8,500 private sector companies have received training through 11,449 classes. Last year, the program served 1,068 businesses, 72 percent of which were small businesses.

The funding would come from the Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skills and be placed in an account dedicated to the NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development and used to administer the training.

Currently, the program is supposed to receive 13 percent of the total appropriations from the Supplemental Fund. This bill would guarantee that the appropriation would equal a minimum of $3 million and provide for extra funding if the percentage falls short of that amount.

“This bill provides a predictable and consistent funding source for a workforce development program that greatly deserves it,” Wallace said.