The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced Wednesday that $2 million in grant funding will be available through the Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education training program.
Pre-apprenticeship programs funded through PACE provide education and training that prepare participants for placement into a Registered Apprenticeship program, into a post-secondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or into the workforce.
PACE programs must have a documented partnership with at least one Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor. Together, these programs expand career pathways with industry-based training and classroom instruction, leading to better-paying positions and advanced credentials.
Gov. Phil Murphy has long supported apprenticeship programs.
“Navigating through the pandemic and emerging stronger requires concerted action to support New Jersey workers as they adapt to the changes brought by COVID-19,” he said. “Today’s investment in workforce training will provide our workers a pathway to long-term, good-paying jobs as we look toward economic recovery.”
PACE was developed by the New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship, which is part of Murphy’s New Jersey Apprenticeship Network initiative announced in March 2018.
Since Murphy took office in January 2018, 396 new registered apprenticeship programs have been approved in New Jersey — a 61% increase — and have on-boarded 6,697 new apprentices, bringing the total number of active apprentices in the state to 8,892 serving in 1,007 programs.
PACE programs provide tools such as job readiness, essential skills and occupation-specific training. In addition, PACE funding can be used to offer stipends to participants to offset costs of supportive services, such as child care and transportation. The PACE program was developed primarily to help alleviate economic barriers that hinder upskilling.
Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said the significance of these programs only will increase.
“In tandem with our more than 1,000 apprenticeship programs, pre-apprenticeship will play a vital role in helping our workforce recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Whether you are entering or reentering the workforce, reskilling or upskilling, participation in a PACE program is a sturdy stepping-stone to gainful, sustainable employment.”
The Office of Apprenticeship will host remote technical assistance workshops March 9 and March 16 to provide guidance to interested parties who meet the application requirements of the NGO. To register, click here.
PACE grant applications that include pre-apprenticeship training and placement into employment for residents affected by COVID-19 will be given higher priority. Applications that seek to build career pathways for individuals without a high school diploma or recognized equivalent, as well as those that demonstrate a viable strategy to recruit targeted populations as outlined in the Notice of Grant Opportunity, will also receive greater consideration.
Since the inception of PACE in 2019, the NJDOL has awarded more than $1.8 million in PACE grant funding to nine recipients.
For eligibility details and more information, including submission deadlines, please read the full Notice of Grant Opportunity here.