NJIT receives grants to develop construction talent

New Jersey Institute of Technology has received three state grants totaling $1.725 million to establish a Talent Development Center and Talent Network for the construction and utilities industry.

The grants received from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development will renew the school’s Technology Talent Network, which will now be called the Technology Advisory Network.

With $1.2 million from the state, NJIT will increase training and employment opportunities in the construction and utilities industry with the newly-established TDC. The center will also establish partnerships between businesses and schools, and will provide industry-specific education to workers to develop skills that may lead to employment and career development.

“The goal of this TDC is to develop career pathways, build stronger employer-driven partnerships and improve the alignment of education and training with the needs of the construction and utilities industry,” said Gale Tenen Spak, associate vice president of continuing professional education at NJIT and principal investigator for the three grant programs.

With $275,000 awarded by the state, NJIT will create a new Construction and Utilities Talent Network to meet the state’s business needs and ensure workers are equipped with the skills and education to succeed. The network will focus on developing partnerships within the industry to identify skill gaps and workforce needs, develop of a workforce plan, and create a strategy to build and sustain partnerships.

Lastly, NJIT received $250,000 from the state for hosting the Technology Advisory Network and serving as the principal adviser and consultant to all New Jersey Talent Networks.

“Companies in all industries depend upon keeping up to date with the latest technology. It’s critical to their very infrastructure,” Spak said. “This grant will allow us to dedicate two full-time employees to assisting all the talent networks, expanding upon the relationships it has developed over the years.”

NJIT is one of six higher-education institutions in New Jersey selected to oversee a Talent Development Center as part of the “65 by 25: Many Paths, One Future” initiative, which aims to increase the number of New Jersey citizens who have earned a post-secondary credential or degree from 50 to 65 percent by 2025.