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

Troy Singleton

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton 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 Senate Labor Committee yesterday.

“Now more than ever, we need more 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.”

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 Commissioner would also be required to develop and initially offer at least 10 of the certificate programs by the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year and at least 10 additional programs by the spring semester of the 2019-2020 academic year.

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.

A county college, a county vocational school district, or an adult education program operated in cooperation with the Department of Education or the Department of Labor and Workforce Development may choose to participate in the pilot program by implementing one or more of the certificate programs established by the commissioner pursuant to this act

An entity that participates in the pilot program would be required to submit annual reports to the Commissioner before July 1 of each year.  The reports would include:

a)     the certificate programs offered;

b)    the number of students who enrolled in each certificate program;

c)     the number of students who successfully completed each certificate program; and

d)    the percentage of students who obtained employment in the area in which they obtained a certificate or who enrolled in additional educational offerings in that subject area.

The bill would take effect immediately and expire on July 1, 2022.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-0.