workplace training

NJDOL Announces $6.5M in Apprenticeship Grants

New Funding Caps Off National Apprenticeship Week

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) announced during National Apprenticeship Week a total of $6.5 million in available grant funding under the Growing Apprenticeship In Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) and Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE) programs.

“The GAINS and PACE programs have helped secure New Jersey’s place as a leader in apprenticeships nationwide,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “These new grants will further our goal of ensuring that every New Jerseyan has a well-paying job, especially in many of our state’s fastest-growing and most dynamic fields.”

For more information on the GAINS grant, please visit: https://www.nj.gov/labor/assets/PDFs/Grants/FY22_001_GAINS_NGO.pdf; for information on PACE, go to: https://www.nj.gov/labor/assets/PDFs/Grants/FY22_001_PACE_NGO.pdf; and to see all current notices of grant opportunity offered through NJDOL, please visit: https://www.nj.gov/labor/research-info/grants.shtml.

The GAINS grant 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 and create Registered Apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries, with this round of funding targeting growth in a range of sectors including Information Technology/Cyber Security, Bio Pharma/Life Sciences, Renewable Energy, Public Service, and more. Currently, more than half of GAINS apprentices are in the healthcare sector.

Of note, more than two-thirds of GAINS grantees are females or minorities, which is twice the average among all apprenticeship programs in the state. Women account for 48 percent of GAINS apprentices, greater than five times the statewide average.

“As a state, our mission should continuously involve the expansion and creation of economic opportunities, by encouraging in-demand industries to create pathways for underrepresented populations,” said State Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, a strong supporter of apprenticeship. “Creating more accessible pathways to apprenticeships in New Jersey will lead to an invigorated economy, expanded opportunities for New Jersey residents and a more diversified workforce. I am thankful for the Governor’s continued investment.”

The PACE grant supports pre-apprenticeship programs that provide education and training to prepare participants for either placement into a Registered Apprenticeship program, into a post-secondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or into the workforce. In partnership with a Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor, these programs expand career pathways with industry-based training and classroom instruction, leading to better-paying positions and advanced credentials.

PACE programs provide tools such as job readiness, essential skills, and occupation-specific training. In addition, PACE funding can be used to offer stipends to participants to offset costs of supportive services, such as childcare and transportation, and can also be used to support the attainment of a high school equivalency diploma or GED. The PACE program was developed primarily to help alleviate economic barriers that hinder upskilling, and to promote equality of opportunity, upward mobility, and economic fairness.

The new funding allocation – $4 million for GAINS and $2.5 million for PACE – was announced as NJDOL celebrated National Apprenticeship Week November 15 through 19 alongside business and trade organizations throughout the state, including events with the American Training Center, International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 825, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Ideal Institute of Technology.

“Throughout Apprenticeship Week, I was able to see firsthand the impact apprenticeship programs are making to develop the talent of our workforce and strengthen our economy,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Apprenticeship programs are developing the future of our industries, and this earn-while-you-learn model is affording people of all socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to find gainful careers that will carry them through the pandemic and beyond.”

In the previous fiscal year, seven recipients were awarded $3,112,633 through the GAINS program, while another $3,385,273 was distributed to thirteen awardees through PACE.

Earlier this week, the NJDOL announced that the department distributed $9,064,854 in Fiscal Year 2021 through four grants that support the growth of Registered Apprenticeship programs across the state, which also includes the New Jersey Pathways Leading Apprentices to a College Education (NJ PLACE 2.0) and Youth Transitions to Work (YTTW) grant programs. For a full list of FY21 grant recipients, please see attached.

Shortly after taking office, Governor Murphy created the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network, an initiative that seeks to make the Garden State a leader for apprenticeship programs nationwide and provide options for all New Jerseyans to build meaningful careers across a wide range of employers.

Since January 2018, New Jersey has created 549 new Registered Apprenticeship programs – a 90% increase – and on-boarded 8,785 new apprentices. The state currently has 8,961 active apprentices in 1,160 programs.

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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