TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Labor Chair Fred H. Madden, Jr. and Senator Troy Singleton that would establish a Talent Network Program in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development was passed by the Senate today.
“New Jersey has an incredibly diverse group of industries that could see significant growth if nurtured the right way,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “The program would be a great way for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to focus on specific industry needs within each region in order to best maximize partnerships between businesses and entities in New Jersey.”
The bill, committee substitute S-393/973 Scs, would establish the Talent Network Program in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The purpose of this program would be to develop centralized sources of intelligence about the workforce needs of the state’s key industries by building employer-driven partnerships between businesses, educational institutions and other organizations concerned with workforce development.
In order to fulfill the purpose of the program, the bill would require the department to annually award a minimum of $2 million in grant funds from federal and state sources to nonprofit organizations, industry associations and post-secondary educational institutions with demonstrated knowledge and expertise in one of the state’s key industries.
“New Jersey’s regional economies are as diverse as its communities. We just need to maximize what each has to offer,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Each benefit differently from what its respective part of the state has to offer. Our Talent Networks are critical to sustaining the state’s economic ecosystem by creating greater synergy between industry and the workforce they need to develop and grow.”
The department currently funds ten talent networks: advanced manufacturing, construction/utilities, financial services, food industry, health care, life sciences, retail, hospitality, and tourism in North Jersey; retail, hospitality, and tourism in South Jersey; and technology, transportation, logistics, and distribution. Under the bill, the department is permitted to continue any grant agreements awarded prior to the enactment of this legislation.
The bill was passed out of the Senate by a vote of 37-0, and next heads to the Assembly for further consideration.