Apprentices in N.J. tops 8K as Labor Dept. welcomes new energy trainees

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development on Tuesday welcomed four new apprentices to the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, bringing the total number of apprentices in New Jersey over 8,000.

The PPPL lab is a collaborative national center for fusion and plasma energy research that is part of the Department of Energy.

“A stronger and fairer economy starts with developing career pathways for employees and a strong talent pool for employers,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “The growth of apprenticeships is a testament to our unwavering commitment to continue investing in our people, which will strengthen our workforce and economy over the long-term.”

The apprentices entered into the four-year, on-the-job training program during a signing ceremony. It was attended by Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo; U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar; Tim Sullivan, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Steven Cowley, director, PPPL; Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16), who heads the PPPL Office of Communications and Public Outreach; and other dignitaries from PPPL and Princeton University.

“Because of the commitment of PPPL to apprenticeship, these new apprentices will be mentored in careers that are rewarding, cutting-edge, and vital to our country’s future energy needs,” Asaro-Angelo said. “In my mind, there is almost no industry sector that cannot benefit from an apprenticeship program, and today’s ceremony at a high-tech research lab proves the point.”

The mechanical and electrical technician apprentices will seek to develop fusion energy as a safe way to generate electricity and attend classes at Mercer County Technical Schools.

“Apprenticeship programs offer participants hands-on experience that prepares them for real-world career opportunities,” Sullivan said. “Governor Murphy’s increased focus in this area is helping to ensure the state’s talent pool keeps pace with the demands of the high-growth sectors targeted by his plan for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy.”

The group of four are the first to take part in the program. They include:

  • Robert Bongiovanni of Hamilton;
  • Aaron Floyd of Lawrenceville;
  • Kevin Purdy of Allentown; and
  • Sheehan Twomey of Princeton.

At PPPL they will receive pay and benefits, 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, and classroom instruction. They will also be eligible for full-time employment after the program is complete.

These apprentices will join the 8,021 registered apprentices currently active in New Jersey, an 18% increase since Murphy took office.