To support the creation and expansion of apprenticeships throughout the state, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) yesterday announced a total of $7 million in available funding under the Growing Apprenticeship In Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS), Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE), and Youth Transitions to Work (YTTW) grant programs. These programs are part of the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network – an initiative that seeks to help all New Jerseyans cultivate careers across a wide range of employers.
Shortly after taking office, Gov. Phil Murphy created the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network in an effort to grow apprenticeship programs in New Jersey and make the Garden State a leader for apprenticeship programs nationwide. Since the governor took office in January 2018, the state has seen increases of up to 92% in new Registered Apprenticeship programs.
“These grant programs are key to facilitating apprenticeships on behalf of workers eager to gain new skills and build meaningful careers,” said Governor Murphy. “Investments in our apprenticeship programs represent investments in our workforce and our economy that will continue to benefit our state for years to come.”
“Apprentices can be found in any sector, from reinforcing our healthcare workers to developing talent for the emerging offshore wind industry,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “The versatility of apprenticeships allows workers to train for gainful careers while earning a wage, so they enter the workforce on solid footing.”
The GAINS grant program, with an available $4 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 bolster workers and businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – such as the health care industry. Currently, more than half of GAINS apprentices are in the healthcare sector.
A particular focus of GAINS grants is supporting underrepresented populations. The program has provided unprecedented opportunities for women and people of color. More than two-thirds of GAINS participants are females 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 a previous round of GAINS grants released in November 2021 has been awarded to 11 applicants to onboard a planned 725 apprentices in occupations such as Registered Nurse Residency, Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, and Cyber Security Support Technician- among others.
The PACE grant program has $1.5 million available to support pre-apprenticeship programs that provide education and training to prepare participants for either placement into a Registered Apprenticeship program, a post-secondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or 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 promote equal opportunities, upward mobility, and economic fairness while helping to alleviate economic barriers that keep workers from learning new skills. Previous PACE grant funding during this fiscal year has already supported more than 100 pre-apprentices in advanced manufacturing and carpentry.
Another $1.5 million is available through the YTTW program to recruit, screen, and facilitate effective transitions of young people between the ages of 16 and 24, including high school juniors and seniors and out-of-school youth, to high-skill, high-wage employment in labor-demand occupations, with long-term career potential and opportunities for occupationally-relevant lifelong learning.
Funding is being made available to accomplish goals including, but not limited to, increasing the number of high school graduates entering Registered Apprenticeship programs in New Jersey and establishing YTTW programs in new apprenticeship occupations or industries.
A prior round of YTTW funding has supported the placement of 186 pre-apprentices in apprenticeship programs for occupations such as auto technician/diesel mechanic, stage technician, physical therapy aide, certified nursing assistant, and carpenter.
The NJDOL will be holding technical assistance workshops for GAINS on May 11, PACE on May 12, and YTTW on May 13. For complete information on each grant, including 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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