TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union) and Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) to permit county colleges and vocational school districts to establish green job certification programs today received final legislative approval in the Senate.
Specifically, the bill (S-1648) would allow county vocational school districts and county colleges to partner with private entities to develop and establish green job certification programs. The college or vocational district would identify needed skills, develop training programs and train workers for green jobs in industries such as energy efficient building, construction and retrofits, renewable electric power, energy efficient vehicles, biofuels and manufacturing that produces sustainable products and uses sustainable processes and materials.
“As we continue our effort to grow businesses and improve our state economy, we need to ensure that education is a key component. Creating training and green job certification programs in our educational institutions will allow us to prepare the next generation of workers for employment in the renewable energy sector,” said Senator Ruiz. “At the same time, these programs will provide residents with the ability to acquire new skills that will allow them to obtain good-paying jobs and to move up the economic scale.”
“We have the ability in New Jersey to be an international leader in the green energy economy, by developing new technologies in the areas of solar, wind and biofuels. But in order to compete in the worldwide marketplace, it is critical that we have a highly-skilled workforce that is well trained,” said Senator Whelan. “By allowing our colleges and vocational schools to partner with the industry, we will ensure that our residents have the skills necessary to compete in the 21st century green economy, so that we can expand our renewable energy sector, spur job creation and fuel economic growth.”
The bill authorizes county colleges to review national standards established by various industries in developing a green jobs certification program and to consult with the Department of Community Affairs in the development of such programs.
The Assembly passed the bill in February by a vote of 76-0. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 38-0. It now heads to the desk of the governor.