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Rice-Cunningham Bill Including African American & Hispanic Chambers of Commerce In Process to Facilitate Workforce Training Program Approved

Senators Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, and Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, speak about legislation on the floor of the Senate

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice and Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham to better ensure the employment needs of the African American and Latino communities are addressed by the state’s workforce development training program was approved today by the Senate.

“We know that minority communities are disproportionately affected by high unemployment. By ensuring the state is actively working with the African American and Hispanic chambers of commerce to facilitate workforce training, we will better ensure that sufficient training is available for those who are most affected,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “Increased training could provide greater access to work for residents and to higher paying jobs.”

“The consortium works with a number of business groups in its effort to promote and deliver workforce training in the state,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “Engaging these organizations in this effort will mean a more proactive approach to making sure that minority groups, which have higher rates of unemployment, have access to these important programs.”

The bill (S-1761) would direct the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development to include the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey among the business organizations with which it collaborates in its efforts to facilitate the delivery by county colleges of basic skills training to New Jersey workplaces.

The New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development (NJCCCWED) works with employers and potential employees to either increase needed skills for business or assist veterans, unemployed, and underemployed people get training to find good jobs and careers with New Jersey companies. The workforce trainings they provide include Advance Manufacturing Training Initiative, Basic Skills Workforce Training, Training-on-Demand, and Ready to Work New Jersey.

Current New Jersey law directs the consortium to work with the business community, including chambers of commerce, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, and any other business associations.

The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 38-0. It next heads to the Assembly for a vote.