The New Jersey Assembly approved legislation Monday by a vote of 70-0-1 to establish a Talent Network Program in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Assembly Bill 3417 passed both houses in October 2018. When it received a conditional veto from Gov. Phil Murphy, the revised bill returned to the Senate with the governor’s recommendation and was approved in February 2019, before returning to the Assembly.
The program charges select organizations – all that possess expertise in their particular industries – with the task of determining the state’s workforce needs and taking action to help fulfill them. Each consortium must work toward a specific set of goals as outlined in the bill.
These goals include establishing partnerships with employers to determine what necessary skills and education candidates are lacking, then collaborating with educators to ensure their programs suitably prepare the participants.
Other aspects of this program include the hosting of an annual industry summit as well as the development and distribution of career and labor market information.
Nine industries are the focus of this program, including life science, health care, technology, transportation and hospitality. This law will require allocating a minimum of $2 million to the consortia of nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions and industry associations to ensure these goals can be met.
Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, D-14th District; Carol Murphy, D-7th District; and Anthony Verrelli, D-15th District sponsored the legislation.
“This Talent Network Program is an effective way to identify the needs of employers and develop our educational and training programs accordingly,” DeAngelo, Murphy, and Verrelli said in a joint statement. “It is crucial to understand which skills the workforce lacks and which are in-demand in order to align our preparatory programs with the reality of each industry. We are confident this network will assist job-seekers in obtaining career positions while ultimately boosting our state’s economy.”