State Sen. Linda Greenstein, D-14th District, chairwoman of the manufacturing caucus, and representative of Middlesex and Mercer counties, explained at the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program’s State of the State summit in Trenton on Monday that the caucus’ goals are reducing burdensome over-regulation, lowering the cost of doing business and helping business owners navigate the government.
“There is a place in New Jersey for more manufacturing jobs,” Greenstein said. “Over the last three years, we have introduced 40 pieces of legislation that focus on manufacturing.”
The Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act ensures $500 million to educate young adults for technical jobs. One bill would establish a pilot program to assist adults so they can stop working two or three low-wage jobs. “I have heard horror stories about what businesses have had to go through,” Greenstein said. “We pride ourselves on being able to help.”
Cutting through the red tape
Sen. Steve Oroho, R-24th District, of the manufacturing support council, said New Jersey, which boasts a strong educational system, infrastructure, and a skilled workforce, would be less competitive without incentives.
“New Jersey is a tough place to do business with over-regulation and over-taxation,” Oroho said.
Melanie Willoughby, executive director of the Business Action Center, said she cuts through bureaucracy on behalf of businesses to get an answer to questions. The action center helps businesses to apply for permits and plan to promote exports.
“We cut through hundreds of pages of paperwork on regulators’ desks,” Willoughby said.
Pro-action education network
Patricia Moran, director of apprenticeships at the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, introduced the pro-action education network as assisting displaced workers.
“Employers have to be adaptable to change,” Moran said. “Our program is testing the pro-action model.”
The action center is also training people more rapidly than a traditional apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships afford people to earn money while learning.
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, 16th District, of the manufacturing caucus works on crafting policies to support manufacturing jobs. Zwicker is a physicist at Princeton University’s plasma laboratory.
“They are looking at high precision welding and vacuum technology,” Zwicker said. “We are working hard on a pre-apprenticeship program for K to 12 so our jobs are connected to your needs.”
More from the 2019 NJMEP State of the State of Manufacturing:
- NJMEP state of the state: Skilled workforce key, but high taxes hurt
- Sweeney delivers keynote at 2019 NJMEP State of the State
- Manufacturing challenges examined: Minimum wage, attracting skilled employees
- EDA chief: New Jersey innovation economy includes investment in manufacturing
- Manufacturing apprenticeships and workforce development take center stage at NJMEP event
- Sherrill: NJMEP produces return on investment of 14.5 to 1