Murphy to propose Pay It Forward Fund during budget address

N.J. would dedicate $6M for public-private program to help workforce training in underserved communities

Gov. Phil Murphy proposes his fiscal 2021 budget earlier this year. (File photo)

Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey CEO Council he created last fall to help address issues of economic inequality in the state announced then a pledge to hire and train more than 30,000 residents from underserved communities. Tuesday, during his budget address, Murphy will announce how the program will be paid for.

Murphy will announce that the state would contribute approximately $6 million to create the New Jersey Pay It Forward Fund, a unique public-private funding mechanism that would support low-income and underserved individuals with workforce training and wrap-around services in exchange for repayment once they secure higher-wage jobs, ROI-NJ has learned.

New Jersey is believed to be the first state to dedicate public resources to this type of fund.

The NJ PFF is a result of meetings with the New Jersey CEO Council, an informal coalition of CEOs from nine of the state’s largest companies. The CEOs of Merck (Ken Frazier) and Prudential Financial (Charles Lowrey) serve as co-chairs.

The other members of the CEO Council are from BD (Thomas Polen), Campbell Soup Co. (Mark Clouse), Johnson & Johnson (Alex Gorsky), Public Service Enterprise Group (Ralph Izzo), RWJBarnabas Health (Barry Ostrowsky), Verizon (Hans Vestberg) and Zoetis (Kristin Peck).

The group not only pledged to hire or train more than 30,000 residents by 2030, it agreed to spend an additional $250 million on procurement with state-based, diverse companies by 2025. The group also challenged their peers in the business community to produce an additional 40,000 jobs and $250 million in local purchasing.

Murphy will announce that the NJ PFF would use a pool of capital to pay for training programs at training and education providers that are deemed eligible following a rigorous due diligence process. The hope is that this public-private partnership would serve as a source of recyclable capital to fund training that prepares New Jerseyans for in-demand jobs.

The initial seed capital for the fund would pay for workforce training that would then be repaid and recycled to pay for future trainees. Seed capital for the NJ PFF could include, but not be limited to public resources, corporations and philanthropy.