Partnerships to Build an Innovative and Productive Workforce

Training NJ's Workforce

New Jersey’s economic future depends on a competitive, innovative and highly-skilled workforce. The modern labor market increasingly demands post-secondary credentials and degrees. We believe that the key to fueling the state’s economy is creating a pipeline of workers with the skills that are valued in the labor market.

National experts predict that by 2020, 65 percent of US jobs will require some kind of credential in addition to a high school diploma. If current trends continue, by 2025, American employers will have 62 million high-quality job openings to fill – but only 39 million US workers will have the degrees and credentials to qualify for those jobs.

To address this issue, we are focusing our workforce initiatives to help individuals make better decisions about the skills and education required to succeed in our labor market. Last fall, we released our first-ever Industry-Valued Credentials List to help students and job seekers identify the skills and credentials most in-demand in New Jersey. The list of 198 credentials serves as a consumer protection tool for individuals in search of high-quality occupational training, ensuring that the credential they are seeking is valid and recommended by knowledgeable employers, educators and workforce professionals. We hope this valuable resource will grow and evolve over time, and we welcome feedback from employers on how we can improve the list to include the skills needed to meet their workforce needs. We are confident that this new effort, along with our existing workforce development programs like the Talent Networks and Talent Development Centers, creates a path for job seekers to get the credentials they need to achieve rewarding careers.

To help guide students and job seekers to those skills and credentials that are in demand, we recently launched a new initiative known as New Jersey Career Connections. We know that at some point in their lives, New Jerseyans of all backgrounds, education levels and work experiences will find themselves exploring employment options and taking steps to achieve their career goals. Yet, the way in which people find and apply for jobs has rapidly changed over the past decade, with technology completely revolutionizing the traditional job search.

Our department recognized that even as technology helps connect jobseekers with more career advice and support services than ever before, these resources are sometimes contradictory and often disconnected. To bring clarity to this complex career navigation environment, we worked with a variety of government, non-profit and education institutions to create an innovative network to unify providers of career navigation information and support services around one shared, comprehensive career navigation service model.

While traditional job search assistance has focused almost exclusively on helping unemployed individuals find work, New Jersey Career Connections offers resources for students, job seekers and those interested in changing careers, with a strong focus on aligning the skills of our state’s workforce with the needs of employers in New Jersey’s growing industries. Anchored by a highly-interactive website,, and new partnerships with the state’s libraries and community colleges, the Career Connections initiative nearly triples the number of locations where New Jerseyans can access valuable career guidance.

In-person Career Connections services are now available at One-Stop Career Centers and partner libraries and colleges, offering users easily accessible and personalized advice about how to best explore their career options. Our department has trained more than 800 One-Stop, library and community college staff in the new Career Connections approach to ensure that consistent career guidance is available at all locations throughout the state.

The interactive, easy-to-use and mobile-optimized Career Connections website enables users to work independently and at their own convenience. In addition to an interactive job board, the new website features networking tips, up-to-date labor market information, interview advice, and easy access to government resources including unemployment insurance.

In addition to our many resources for job seekers, our department also offers a variety of resources to help businesses with all of their workforce development needs. Our business representatives work with employers to find qualified talent and to identify appropriate hiring and training incentives. Each year, we invest approximately $10 million in Skills Partnership customized training grants to help employers upgrade the skills of their workers. We continue to encourage employers to contact us to see how we can help them grow their business.

We look forward to continuing our relationships with jobseekers, employers and our partners in the public and private sectors so we may further innovate and develop New Jersey’s workforce.




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