The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has announced a total of $6.5 million in available funding under the Growing Apprenticeship In Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) and the New Jersey Builders’ Utilization Initiative for Labor Diversity (NJBUILD) Women and Minority Veterans in Construction Trades grant programs to foster the creation and expansion of apprenticeships throughout the state.
Shortly after taking office, Governor Murphy made known his commitment to growing apprenticeship programs in the Garden State with his creation of the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network. Since the Governor took office in January 2018, the state has seen increases of up to 92% in new Registered Apprenticeship programs.
“Apprenticeships are critical to building our workforce and allowing participants to develop the skills they need to obtain meaningful employment,” said Governor Murphy. “By creating invaluable opportunities for underserved individuals, the apprenticeships facilitated by these grant programs are making our state stronger and fairer – furthering my Administration’s efforts to make New Jersey the state of opportunity for everyone.”
“The pandemic disproportionately impacted women and minority workers, who were already at a disadvantage, and both the GAINS and NJBUILD programs have a robust history of uplifting these populations,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “I am thankful for the Governor’s continued investment as we continue to develop the skills and talents of our workforce with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, preparing our workers for in-demand jobs as we recover into an even stronger and more resilient New Jersey than ever.”
The GAINS grant program, with an available $3.5 million, promotes expansion of United States Department of Labor (USDOL) approved Registered Apprenticeship programs to support better-paying careers and advanced credential attainment. The program seeks to develop new and existing apprenticeship programs, create registered apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries, and to promote equality of opportunity, upward mobility, and economic fairness.
The GAINS program has provided unprecedented opportunities for women and people of color. More than two-thirds of GAINS participants are women or minorities, which is twice the average among all apprenticeship programs in the state. Women account for 67 percent of GAINS apprentices, greater than seven times the statewide average of female apprentices when Governor Murphy took office in January 2018. The GAINS program has doubled the number of women in Registered Apprenticeships throughout the state.
Funding from the previous round of GAINS grants was awarded to five grantees to onboard a planned 187 apprentices in occupations such as Nurse Assistant, Cook, Heating and Air Conditioning Installers, Truck Drivers, Laboratory Technicians, and Medical Assistant – among others. Currently, more than half of GAINS apprentices are in the healthcare sector.
“Thanks to the GAINS grant, we have been able to support 14 hospitals in the state. This grant has helped us ensure a smooth transition into practice for new nurses graduating in New Jersey,” said Dr. Edna Cadmus, Executive Director of the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing and Clinical Professor at the Rutgers University School of Nursing, a grantee of a previous round of GAINS funding. “New nurses felt supported during a turbulent time in healthcare.”
A participating nurse in the GAINS-funded program stated in a survey: “I am really excited to be a part of this program. I am looking forward to it helping me grow and transition into the best possible nurse I can be.”
With $3 million available, the NJBUILD Women and Minority Veterans in Construction Trades program seeks to connect National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military members to quality career and training opportunities in the building and construction industry, and to eliminate economic barriers associated with investing in skills training and work readiness. The program offers women and minority veterans the training needed for employment and/or placement into registered apprenticeship programs within the building and construction trades occupations or other industry occupations, as well as quality support services to ensure successful job placement.
“The NJBUILD program provides women and minority veterans with incredible opportunities to receive training under world-class apprenticeship programs, getting a technologically-advanced education that can lead to professional licenses, certifications, and highly-skilled, high-earning construction jobs,” said Bill Mullen, President of the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council, which received funding through a previous round of NJBUILD grants. “Being tuition-free, the program is a valuable pathway to the family-supporting wages, health care, and retirement benefits that our veterans deserve.”
NJDOL will be holding technical assistance workshops for GAINS on Sept. 27 and Oct. 5, and for NJBUILD on Oct. 4. Applications for both grants are due October 28. For complete information on each grant, including how to register for the technical assistance workshops and other important deadlines, please visit: https://www.nj.gov/labor/research-info/grants.shtml
For more information on the New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship, please visit: https://www.nj.gov/labor/career-services/apprenticeship/index.shtml
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