Legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Teresa Ruiz, D-29th District, aimed at making apprenticeships more accessible for New Jersey residents, particularly in high growth industries, was sent to Gov. Phil Murphy on Jan. 13.
The governor then signed into law Senate Bill 3064 that establishes a task force to develop a statewide plan to diversify apprenticeships, and Senate Bill 3066 creating a five-year High-Growth Industry Regional Apprenticeship Development Grant Pilot Program.
Ruiz says the wide-ranging bill package is based on the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s report “Becoming the United States of Opportunity: the Economic Equity and Growth Case for Apprenticeships.” This report highlighted how apprenticeship programs can strengthen New Jersey’s economy and advance economic opportunity by connecting residents—particularly women and people of color—to living-wage careers.
“Making apprenticeships more accessible will bolster our workforce and expand opportunities for New Jersey residents,” Ruiz said. “Apprenticeships offer young people a pathway to lifelong careers, often in high-wage industries that are vital to our state economy. This legislation will work to ensure they are accessible to everyone in the state, including marginalized groups who have historically been denied access to these industries. I am grateful we were able to get nearly the entire bill package done this session and I look forward to seeing the impact it has on our state.”
The Senator said she plans to reintroduce the remaining other bills of her package next session.