Murphy announces grants, programs aimed at bolstering apprenticeship support

Gov. Phil Murphy announced a number of workforce initiatives Thursday, including the first grant recipients in the Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education program.

The governor also announced two grant opportunities, the second Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors grant and the first Expanding Pre-Apprenticeships in a New Direction grant.

The initiatives all have catchier acronyms — PACE, GAINS and ExPAND, respectively.

“Investing in our workforce is essential to creating a stronger and fairer New Jersey for all of our residents,” the governor said at an event held at Montclair State University during the Math for America Summer Institute for its New Jersey STEM Innovation Fellows program. “These new initiatives will continue our efforts to invest in our people by providing the necessary training and education to grow our middle class and reignite the innovation economy.”

The PACE Training Program, started in January, is the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network’s first pre-apprenticeship initiative, funding programs so they can offer stipends to participants as well as supportive services like child care.

Nine grant recipients received a total of more than $1.8 million to serve more than 525 participants.

They include:

  • New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, $392,710 for 120 participants;
  • NJ Reentry Corp., $350,340 for 60 participants;
  • UNITE HERE Local 54, $280,000 for 96 participants;
  • Urban League of Essex County, $211,970 for 40 participants;
  • Roofers Local #4, $175,000 for 20 participants;
  • Raritan Valley Community College, $167,645 for 30 participants;
  • Middlesex County Vocational School District, $115,000 for 135 participants;
  • Hunterdon County Vocational School District, $90,000 for 20 participants;
  • Mercer County Technical School, $50,000 for five participants.

The Department of Labor & Workforce Development also announced $3 million in GAINS program funding. The program was launched last fall to support registered apprenticeships in high-growth sectors, and in fiscal 2019 distributed nearly $5.8 million that will support training for nearly 800 apprentices.

“Our PACE program is a natural complement to our existing apprenticeship offerings, and these new partners will help us develop a rich pipeline of highly qualified and highly skilled individuals seeking placement in a registered apprenticeship program or other good, sustainable employment,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said in a statement. “We are proud to welcome these new grantees, and, soon, we’ll be onboarding another round of forward-thinking employers through our $3 million GAINS grant.”

The Department of Education’s ExPAND program, meanwhile, represents its first apprenticeship-related grant funding during Murphy’s administration. That program will award six $100,000 grants to one county vocational school district and one comprehensive school district from each of North, Central and South Jersey.

“This is new terrain for the Department of Education, as the ExPAND grant would provide funding specifically for high schools to establish career-training programs that help students transition into registered apprenticeship programs after graduation,” Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet said in a statement. “These grants will develop a pipeline of talent that will benefit employers and provide students with the opportunity to prepare for a highly successful career.”

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