Senate Advances Singleton, Greenstein Bill to Establish Pilot Program to Assist Unemployed and Underemployed Individuals

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TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Linda Greenstein that would direct the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to establish a pilot program to assist certain unemployed and underemployed individuals to complete a career and technical education certificate program in 12 months advanced from the full Senate today.

“Now, more than ever, we need highly skilled workers in New Jersey,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington).  “Since the recession, many people lost jobs, some of which no longer exist. We need to re-train workers to be able to work in positions that are available now, but may require that extra technical or career education. This pilot program will especially help those who are unemployed, displaced or disadvantaged by helping them gain employment and improve their long-term career prospects.”

“One of the Department of Labor’s major functions is administering funds for workforce development programs.  These programs mainly seek to help displaced or disadvantaged workers gain employment, or help those already employed improve their long-term career prospects,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex).

The bill, S-1887, would direct the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, in consultation with the Secretary of Higher Education, the county colleges, county vocational school districts, and the Adult Education-High School Equivalency Office in the Department of Education, to design and implement a pilot program through which an eligible adult may obtain a career and technical certificate on an accelerated schedule.  The purpose would be to assist the individual in entering the workforce, re-entering the workforce or obtaining “better employment.”

The bill would require the commissioner to ensure that the pilot program includes at least 20 “industry recognized” certificate programs, and that the maximum time to complete a program does not exceed 12 months.

The bill would require that each course offered through the program integrates appropriate information or math literacy instruction and career and technical skills, and is jointly designed by mathematics, English, and career and technical education faculty.

The bill was released from the full Senate by a vote of 39-0.