The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has $7 million in available funding under the Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors, Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education, and Youth Transitions to Work grant programs, the department announced May 10.
“These grant programs are key to facilitating apprenticeships on behalf of workers eager to gain new skills and build meaningful careers,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “Investments in our apprenticeship programs represent investments in our workforce and our economy that will continue to benefit our state for years to come.”
Murphy created the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network, which each grant initiative is part of, in an effort to grow apprenticeship programs in the state. According to the NJDOL, it’s working: the state has seen increases of up to 92% in new Registered Apprenticeship programs since he took office in 2018.
“Apprentices can be found in any sector, from reinforcing our health care workers to developing talent for the emerging offshore wind industry,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “The versatility of apprenticeships allows workers to train for gainful careers while earning a wage, so they enter the workforce on solid footing.”
“We have advanced several measures in recent years aimed at creating and developing equitable opportunities for career advancement and success,” said a longtime proponent of apprenticeships, State Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz, D-29th District. “I applaud Gov. Murphy’s unwavering support as we continue to work together to bolster apprenticeship opportunities by making them widely available to a variety of high demand workforce sectors.”
The GAINS grant program, which has $4 million in available grants, promotes expansion of United States Department of Labor approved Registered Apprenticeship programs. The program seeks to develop both new and existing apprenticeship programs, create registered apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries, and aid workers and businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than half of GAINS apprentices are in the health care sector, which was highly affected by the pandemic.
More than two-thirds of GAINS participants are females or minorities, which is twice the average among all apprenticeship programs in the state. Women account for 67% of GAINS apprentices—greater than seven times the statewide average of female apprentices when Murphy took office. Thus far, the GAINS program has doubled the number of women in Registered Apprenticeships throughout the state.
A previous round of GAINS grants released in November 2021 was awarded to 11 applicants to onboard 725 apprentices in occupations such as registered nurse residency, water and wastewater treatment plant operator, and cybersecurity support technician.
The PACE grant program, which has $1.5 million available, supports pre-apprenticeship programs that provide education and training to prepare participants for either placement into a Registered Apprenticeship program, a post-secondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or the workforce. PACE funding can also be used to offer stipends to participants to offset costs of supportive services, such as child care and transportation, and can also be used to support the attainment of a high school equivalency diploma or GED.
Previous PACE grant funding during this fiscal year has already supported more than 100 pre-apprentices in advanced manufacturing and carpentry, the NJDOL said.
An additional $1.5 million is available through the YTTW program, which aims to recruit, screen and facilitate effective transitions of people from 16 and 24 to high-skill, high-wage employment in labor-demand occupations with long-term career potential.
A prior round of YTTW funding has supported the placement of 186 pre-apprentices in apprenticeship programs for several occupations, including auto technician/diesel mechanic, stage technician, physical therapy aide, certified nursing assistant, and carpenter.
The NJDOL will hold technical assistance workshops for GAINS on May 11, PACE on May 12 and YTTW on May 13. More information is available on the NJDOL website.