NJ Community Colleges Receive $10 Million Federal Grant to Aid Long-term Unemployed
NJ Labor Department Adds $2 Million to Effort
On Oct. 15, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges and its New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development received a $10 million United States Department of Labor grant to aid the long-term unemployed in the state.
New Jersey, one of 20 states to receive one of 23 grants, will use the grant over the next four years to assist about 510 long-term unemployed return to the workforce using the Workforce Consortium’s training-on-demand model that has been in use with the advanced manufacturing sector and supported by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
In addition, the NJ Labor Department will provide $2 million to assist in this effort, bringing the total funds for this project to $12 million, which will allow an additional 400 unemployed people to receive training.
“This combined funding will enable us to follow a highly successful model already being used in our New Jersey Manufacturing Training Initiative, through which my department, the NJCCC and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association have successfully placed trainees into jobs after graduation. The model brings in employers to identify the skills that unemployed people need to get hired, and then we get a commitment from those employers to hire people after we train them with the proper skills,” said Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the New Jersey Labor Department.
Key industries that will be involved in the initiative include information technology, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Positions available will include middle- and entry-level jobs with career pathways for advancement.
“This is a great day for New Jersey,” Workforce Consortium Executive Director Sivaraman Anbarasan said. “In addition to the US and NJ Departments of Labor and the state’s 19 community colleges, we are partnering with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, BioNJ, the New Jersey Technology Council, the National Cloud Technologists Association, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau to help recruit employers to participate in this program. In addition, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Rowan University are educational partners.
“About 50 percent of the grant will be dedicated to salary reimbursement to employers hiring long-term unemployed,” Anbarasan added. “Other employment related services the program will include are assessment, job coaching, training, employer outreach, and job development.”
All 19 New Jersey community colleges will provide employment-related services as applicable per job demand and availability.
New Jersey’s 19 community colleges created the Workforce Consortium in 2004 to better meet the training needs of businesses large and small throughout the state. Through the combined power of the Consortium, any business in any part of the state can access thousands of training programs at New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. Over the past 10 years, the Consortium’s member institutions have provided customized training to more than 120,000 employees at over 5,000 New Jersey businesses and other organizations.
The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is the voice of the community college sector before the state legislature and other branches of government.