TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz, aimed at making apprenticeships more accessible for New Jersey residents, particularly in high growth industries, was sent to the Governor today.
The wide-ranging bill package is based on the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s report “Becoming the United States of Opportunity: the Economic Equity and Growth Case for Apprenticeships.” This report highlighted how apprenticeship programs can strengthen our economy and advance economic opportunity by connecting residents—particularly women and people of color—to living wage careers.
“Making apprenticeships more accessible will bolster our workforce and expand opportunities for New Jersey residents,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Apprenticeships offer young people a pathway to lifelong careers, often in high wage industries that are vital to our state economy. This legislation will work to ensure they are accessible to everyone in the state, including marginalized groups who have historically been denied access to these industries. I am grateful we were able to get nearly the entire bill package done this session and I look forward to seeing the impact it has on our state.”
“New Jersey is one of the nation’s wealthiest states, but has some of the worst racial disparities in wealth and economic opportunity. For generations, systemic barriers kept communities of color and lower income residents from taking part in New Jersey’s economic success. Apprenticeships help to close the growing economic divide between workers who are receiving a greater share of income gains, and low-wage workers in whose hopes for attaining the American Dream are slipping away,” said Jayne Johnson, Senior Counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.
“We commend Sen. Ruiz for her leadership in championing this legislation and guiding the unprecedented movement of this bill package through the New Jersey Legislature. Once signed into law, this legislation will help create a national model for expanding economic opportunity through apprenticeships—especially for youth, women, and people of color. As the Institute’s report—Becoming the United States of Opportunity: the Economic Equity and Growth Case for Apprenticeships—outlines, this legislation is a win-win for New Jersey—for our workers and businesses.”
New Jersey is the seventh-worst state for income inequality in the nation, with people of color and women disproportionately represented among low-wage workers. Women of color also experience some of the worst pay gaps in the nation, as New Jersey is ranked last for pay equity among all 50 states for Latina women and in the top ten worst states for pay equity for Black women.
“I look forward to working with the Department of Labor to expand economic opportunity throughout the state,” said Senator Ruiz.
Today, five of the bills were sent to the Governor and two were signed into law. The Senator plans to reintroduce the remaining three bills next session.
- 3061 Ruiz/Greenstein – The bill would provide corporate business tax and gross income tax credits for businesses that participate in Department of Labor (DOL) registered apprenticeship programs. It would also establish a grant program for tax-exempt organizations participating in DOL registered apprenticeship programs. Following the Senate’s concurrence with Assembly amendments, the bill was sent to the Governor today.
- 3062 Ruiz/Greenstein – The bill would provide corporate business tax and gross income tax credits for businesses that employ apprentices in DOL registered apprenticeships. The bill was approved by the Assembly today by a vote of 75-0 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
- 3063 Ruiz – Under the bill, higher education facilities would be required to waive tuition fees of apprenticeship courses for certain candidates. The bill was approved by the Assembly today by a vote of 77-0 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
- 3064 Ruiz/Singleton – The law, signed by the Governor today, establishes a task force to develop a statewide plan to diversify apprenticeships.
- 3065 Ruiz/Singleton – The bill would establish a youth apprenticeship pilot program in Department of Education. The three-year pilot program would provide high school and college students an opportunity to develop work skills while continuing their traditional education. The bill was approved by the Assembly today by a vote of 75-0 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
- 3066 Ruiz/Singleton – The law, signed by the Governor today, creates a five-year High-Growth Industry Regional Apprenticeship Development Grant Pilot Program.
- 3067 Ruiz/Singleton – The bill would establish a five-year Apprentice Assistance and Support Services Pilot Program. Following the Senate’s concurrence with Assembly amendments, the bill was sent to the Governor today.
- 3068 Ruiz/Singleton – The bill would require the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to establish a statewide, peer-to-peer, apprenticeship mentoring program for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities. The bill, which did not pass both houses this session, will be reintroduced session.
- 3069 Ruiz/Singleton – The bill would enhance pre-apprenticeship programs and allocate funds therefore. The bill, which did not pass both houses this session, will be reintroduced session.
- 3070 Ruiz/Singleton – The bill would allocate $300,000 in funding for the NJ PLACE program to establish college credit towards degrees in connection with new and existing apprenticeship programs. The bill, which did not pass both houses this session, will be reintroduced session.