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Greenstein To Re-Introduce ‘Back To Work NJ’ Bill

Program would provide on-the-job training for New Jersey’s unemployed

TRENTON – Senator Linda R. Greenstein will re-introduced legislation that would allow New Jersey’s unemployed to receive on-the-job training to learn new skills and find employment. The “Back to Work NJ Program Act” would pair unemployed workers with New Jersey businesses in a six-week training program.

“Working families and businesses are looking for innovative ideas to jumpstart our economy,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “When job training can be combined with actual on-the-job experience, both employers and potential employees can win.”

Based on the successful Georgia Work$ program, “Back to Work NJ” would allow companies looking to hire new employees to take on an unemployed state resident for up to six weeks of on-the-job training. During that time, the individual would be able to work up to 24 hours per week while continuing to receive unemployment compensation, as well as be eligible for up to a $100 stipend to help defray the costs of transportation or child care. This provides employers with the opportunity to train and appraise candidates at no cost, while providing job training, valuable skills and references to the job seeker.

“Recent changes in our economy have resulted in changing workforce needs from employers,” added Senator Greenstein. “This program will help New Jerseyans get the skills they need to be successful in this new and more competitive job market.”

According to the Georgia State Labor Department, the Georgia Work$ program has been deemed a huge success with more than 16,500 participating employers and about 63 percent of unemployed participants having found permanent jobs within 90 days of completing the program.

“As essential as it is to help businesses create new jobs, it’s equally important for us to ensure that the unemployed have access to the vital training they will need to get a new job,” said Senator Greenstein. “‘Back to Work NJ’ offers a new approach to help both our unemployed residents learn new skills, and also help businesses to find and train new employees, so they may continue to grow and stimulate the economy.”

The bill mirrors an earlier proposal which was vetoed by Governor Christie this past winter. In recent weeks, President Obama has highlighted the Georgia Work$ Program and Senator Greenstein is hopeful for the governor’s support this time around. It is referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and will be considered next month.

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