N.J.: Lawmakers Focus on Training

By Diane Cadrain May 14, 2015
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New Jersey lawmakers are considering a number of workforce training bills this year.

Among them are the following:

Workforce training effectiveness. Assembly Bill (AB) 3887 and Senate Bill (SB) 2529 would amend the reporting requirements for the New Jersey Basic Skills Training Program for Economic Growth to create a more finely-tuned analysis of its effectiveness. The proposals would require employees who participate in the program to report information about their employment status and wage rates prior to the training compared to their status and rates for three years afterward. The analysis will help determine the long term effectiveness of training.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), which supports the bill, told lawmakers that the current program, which started in 2007, is able to reach more employees and employers than any other state training program, and serves almost 100,000 employees from over 5,000 private-sector companies. “It has also served New Jersey’s most crucial populations for economic growth,” the NJBIA stated, “as 88 percent of the classes delivered last year were targeted to small businesses and 45 percent of workers reported wages of $20 per hour or less.”

Training in critical fields. SB 2760, introduced on April 23, 2015, requires New Jersey’s training grant program to be focused on critical fields, such as manufacturing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and other areas critical to economic growth, by providing preference in state training grants to employers supporting critical areas of the economy.

Training for jobless casino employees. AB 4103, introduced on March 16, ensures that state workforce development resources are used to provide out-of-work casino employees with the training needed to find meaningful employment in new and/or changing industries. The bill would dedicate Workforce Development Partnership Funds to help former casino employees find and prepare for new job opportunities.

Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.

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