NJDOL announces degree apprenticeship program version 2.0

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | Feb 3, 2020 at 5:15 am

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced on Friday a $2 million Notice of Grant Opportunity, aimed at higher education institutions to award college credits for work-based learning by pairing apprenticeship program partners with credit-bearing post-secondary degrees.

“Investing in New Jersey’s economy and its residents is critical in our efforts to making New Jersey stronger and fairer,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “With this new program, we are equipping our rising workforce with the skills they need to compete for careers in a 21st century economy.”

In 2004, the NJ Pathways Leading Apprentices to a College Education, or NJ PLACE, program was implemented to remove barriers between what is taught at vocational schools and other forms of postsecondary education.

In 2010, the state Legislature formally established NJ PLACE as a function of the NJDOL.

“We’re excited to offer our partners in the educational community an incredible opportunity to discover all the benefits of apprenticeship as a means to develop our future workforce,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “The NJ PLACE 2.0 program reaffirms apprenticeship as a viable path to a lifelong career and a college education. Being an apprentice should no longer be viewed as an either/or decision when it comes to receiving a college education.”

NJ PLACE 2.0, which was announced by Murphy on Friday at the Essential Skills Summit at Middlesex County College, will provide financial assistance for students participating in a U.S. DOL registered apprenticeship program while, at the same time, enrolled in a degree program. The “Degree Apprenticeship” model focus on solving workforce needs by integrate work-based learning with post-secondary education. Programs developed under the grant will allow students to earn college credits and an apprentice wage at the same time.

“We have been working hard, partnering with members of the educational community, as well as business leaders, and our partners in Education and Higher Education, to carve out smart, symbiotic, long-term career pathways together,” state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) said. “The investments we are making today are a part of building our state’s workforce of tomorrow. It is critical that we connect our underrepresented communities to our high-growth industries.”

Applicants interested in the NJ PLACE 2.0 program must submit a letter of intent to express interest in the grant. For more information, click here.

“Every student should have the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real-life work experience and understand how it connects to their career path,” New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis said. “NJ PLACE provides that opportunity and ensures that students will earn college credit for doing so. I am proud that New Jersey is seeding new degree apprenticeship pathways to foster more work-based learning opportunities that pay, and establishing an innovative model for other states to follow.”

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | @emilybader