report to members
Workforce Development

Getting Back to Basic Skills

Report to Members

NJBIA and the New Jersey Community College Consortium (NJCCC) are celebrating the 15-year anniversary of a program that has helped so many employers and workers – but can still help so many more.

Launched in 2007, the New Jersey Workplace Literacy and Basic Skills Training Program has provided free training from our state’s community colleges to more than 200,000 employees, assisting more than 12,000 employers.

All the partners of the program – including the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development – embarked on this journey to ensure New Jersey businesses have a well-trained and highly skilled workforce on the path to economic growth and prosperity.

These basic skills offered are very much in demand for employers, and help workers get on their way within the workforce. There is technology training for platforms like Windows, MS Office 365, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. There are also courses in Databases, PC Data Storage, and Cloud Computing available.

Of course, language training is available for English as a Second Language, Spanish for Managers, and Spanish in the Workplace. There is enhanced business training available in verbal, written and customer service.

Growing in popularity are communication-based courses that focus on mathematics and measurements, problem solving and critical thinking, professionalism, team building, team leadership and time management.

And the beauty of it all is the training is grant funded and available to all employees. The training can be held on the campuses of the 18 community colleges in New Jersey, online and/or at a business’s location.

It’s perhaps more important now than at any time in the existence of the Basic Skills program that employers know this free training is available.

In our 2023 Business Outlook Survey (see page 22), 70% of respondents said they were challenged to find appropriate staffing this year. At the same time, only 45% of respondents said they had taken advantage of an employee training program.

NJBIA and NJCCC recently held a press conference to both celebrate and promote the Basic Skills program. Several employers who regularly place workers in the program praised the professional improvement they see after their employees go through training.

Dawn Gelsi-Collins, director of culture and engagement for Inspira Health, said employers who often utilize the program – like Inspira Health – find there’s added value and connection with workers as they advance professionally.

“We want to grow our own,” she said. “We want to take the people who are committed to the organization and help them reach the heights they can reach.”

And, for those employees, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey put it best: “This program is changing lives.”

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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