The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced $1 million in available grant funding Jan. 19 to encourage the development of degree apprenticeship structures that integrate paid on-the-job learning with credit-bearing classroom education.
The degree apprenticeship model pairs apprenticeship partners with colleges and universities to give student apprentices the opportunity to concurrently fulfill the requirements of a registered apprenticeship program and those of an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree by earning college credits for their work-based learning.
The NJ Pathways Leading Apprentices to a College Education, or NJ PLACE 2.0, program grant also encourages colleges and universities to conduct prior learning assessments for students who have completed a registered apprenticeship program and award college credits retroactively.
The funding is intended to cover direct costs of the Degree Apprenticeship program, including on-the-job training tuition and wages, related technical instruction tuition, and cost reimbursement for prior learning assessments, to a maximum of $7,500 per student apprentice.
Degree apprenticeship programs developed under NJ PLACE 2.0 allow students to earn an apprentice wage and college credits at the same time, according to the NJDOL’s Jan. 19 announcement.
“Investments made today help build our state’s workforce of tomorrow. It’s imperative that we connect individuals, including those who are financially disadvantaged and from underrepresented communities, to opportunities in high-growth industries,” said Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, D-29th District. “Degree apprenticeship programs allow students to gain valuable career experience and compensation, all while continuing to pursue a degree. The overall return on investment will yield well-rounded graduates and a highly skilled workforce.”
NJ PLACE was developed 18 years ago to remove barriers between the academic content of vocational education and other forms of postsecondary education. In January 2010, the state Legislature formally established NJ PLACE under the NJDOL.
NJ PLACE 2.0 was launched in 2020 as part of Governor Phil Murphy’s Jobs NJ initiative. It affords colleges and students even more options to integrate work-based learning with post-secondary education.
“A degree apprenticeship program is a direct line from the classroom to a career, and eliminates the hard choice many students face of having to forego their education and career aspirations to earn a paycheck. This model enables student apprentices to do both – simultaneously,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said.
Applicants interested in applying for the NJ PLACE 2.0 program must submit a Letter of Intent for the grant opportunity no later than Feb. 25 at 12 p.m. Applications must be received no later than March 4 at 12 p.m. Partnership between employer partner and degree granting post-secondary institution applicants are required.
The NJDOL’s Office of Apprenticeship will host remote technical assistance workshops on Jan. 25 and Feb. 2 to provide guidance to interested parties who meet the application requirements. Registration must be completed three business days prior to the workshops.