Gov. Phil Murphy will formally introduce Jobs NJ on Wednesday — a program he said is designed to prepare the next generation of students for the workforce. And keep them in New Jersey, too.
The program was announced Tuesday during his State of the State address. The announcement did not come with a lot of specifics. But Murphy, in his address, said the program will help fix a vexing problem.
“We have been ranked the smartest state in the nation, yet I have met CEOs and corporate board chairs whose first question about New Jersey is whether we have the homegrown workforce they need,” he said. “And, on the flip side, I have talked with New Jersey college graduates afraid that they won’t find the employment they want with the skills they have.
“For us to succeed, we need to close this gap.”
Jobs NJ will be formally announced at an 11 a.m. event Wednesday at the East Brunswick campus of Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.
The program was established by Murphy’s Jobs and Economic Opportunity Council, led by Higher Education Secretary Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo and Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan.
The biggest questions: How will the financially strapped state pay for it? And how much will it cost?
“Where the money comes for this is the biggest issue,” one source told ROI-NJ. “But I think the Legislature will find it. This is a good program that addresses one of our most pressing needs.”
The source requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the program.
Murphy said he feels Jobs NJ will help ensure New Jersey is able to prosper in good times and overcome tough times.
“It is a way to ease the anxiety so many feel, as they wonder how the future will work for them and not against them,” he said. “Jobs NJ has a clear mission — to better align our education system to meet the future needs of both employers and workers, and do better at matching our workers with potential employers.
“Jobs NJ will clear a path to ongoing job training, so residents can continue to learn and compete as the needs of employers evolve with new technologies and new economic realities.”
The program, he said, also will help close longstanding structural and racial equity gaps that have kept some of our residents from job training and skills development — whether they come from historically underserved communities, are new immigrants or are formerly incarcerated individuals reentering the workforce.
The program, Murphy said, will also help the differently abled to be full and equal participants in our economic future. And, importantly, Jobs NJ will dovetail with our nonstop efforts to make our state the home for leaders in the innovation economy.