The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has reported that only a dozen states, including New Jersey, have a higher percentage of their labor force working than before the pandemic.
According to the Chamber, there are 100 available workers for every 100 open jobs in the state. This means that employers in New Jersey may need to train existing employees for new skills or new roles.
To help employers, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has published a Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO) for its UPSKILL: NJ Incumbent Worker Training Grant Program. Grants are available for FY2024 for a total of $10 million.
The purpose of the UPSKILL:NJ Incumbent Worker Training Grant program is to provide New Jersey-based employers with up to 50 percent cost reimbursement assistance to train incumbent frontline employees to meet current and future occupational skill requirements. Grant funds are not intended for company-required annual training or new-employee orientation training.
The grant program is open to the following New Jersey applicants:
- Single employers seeking to train their employees in skills needed for jobs focused primarily on Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Energy, Film & Digital Media, Finance & Professional Services, Food & Beverage, Life Sciences, Offshore Wind, Technology, Transportation & Logistics, and
- An employer organization, labor organization, community-based organization or faith-based organization; secondary or post-secondary school or training provider seeking to meet the collective training needs of an industry-specific consortium of employers for jobs focusing primarily on Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Energy, Film & Digital Media, Finance & Professional Services, Food & Beverage, Life Sciences, Offshore Wind, Technology, Transportation & Logistics.
According to John Sarno, president of the Employers Association of New Jersey, job openings in the state have increased 10 to 39 percent between February 2020 and July 2023. During the same period, the labor participation rate was above the national average.
"Employers have to begin thinking about making some investments in skills training of incumbent workers and the state is willing to match that investment," he says.
For FY2024, employer registration deadlines are 12/13/23 and 03/06/24 - View Entire NGO