NJDOL announces $1M in grant funds to support degree apprenticeship program

NJ PLACE 2.0 was launched in 2020 as a program intended to give thousands of New Jersey residents the education and resources they need to secure good-paying jobs while supporting employers who need to be connected to skilled talent.

On Wednesday, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced there is now $1 million in grant funding available to help encourage the development of degree apprenticeship structures that integrate paid on-the-job learning with credit-bearing classroom education.

The degree apprenticeship model pairs apprenticeship partners with institutions of higher education to give student apprentices the opportunity to concurrently fulfill the requirements of a Registered Apprenticeship program and those of an associate, bachelor’s or graduate degree by earning college credits for their paid work-based learning.

The NJ Pathways Leading Apprentices to a College Education, or NJ PLACE 2.0, program grant also encourages institutions of higher education to conduct prior learning assessments for students who have completed a Registered Apprenticeship program and award college credits retroactively.

Simply put, a degree apprenticeship program draws a direct line from the classroom to a career.

“Investments made today help build our state’s workforce of tomorrow. It’s imperative that we connect individuals, including those who are financially disadvantaged and from underrepresented communities to opportunities in high-growth industries,” said Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark). “Degree apprenticeship programs allow students to gain valuable career experience and compensation, all while continuing to pursue a degree. The overall return on investment will yield well-rounded graduates and a highly skilled workforce.”

NJ PLACE was developed in 2004 to remove barriers between the academic content of vocational education and other forms of postsecondary education, and, in January 2010, the state Legislature formally established NJ PLACE under the NJDOL.

NJ PLACE 2.0 was launched in 2020 as part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s JobsNJ initiative, a talent-focused economic development strategy to help reestablish New Jersey’s leadership in the innovation economy. NJ PLACE 2.0 affords colleges and students even more options to integrate work-based learning with post-secondary education.

Applicants interested in applying for the NJ PLACE 2.0 program must submit a Letter of Intent expressing interest in the grant opportunity no later than noon Feb. 25, and applications must be received no later than noon March 4. Partnership between employer partner and degree-granting post-secondary institution applicants are required.

The NJDOL’s Office of Apprenticeship will host remote technical assistance workshops Tuesday and Feb. 2 to provide guidance to interested parties who meet the application requirements of the NGO. Preregistration three business days prior is required. To register, please click here.