NJDOL awards $2.2M in grants to organizations to boost apprenticeship programs

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced Wednesday that it has awarded a total of $2.17 million in funding to seven businesses and organizations under the Growing Apprenticeship In Nontraditional Sectors and Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education grant programs, which support the creation and expansion of apprenticeships throughout the state.

The state awarded more than $1.58 million in the GAINS program and $591,091 in the PACE program.

These programs are part of the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network — an initiative that seeks to help all New Jerseyans cultivate careers across a wide range of employers.

“We’re proud to partner with these employers who recognize the value of apprenticeship and its impact on developing a strong and skilled workforce,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said.

“Apprenticeship allows employers to build the talent they need and gives workers the opportunity to earn a wage while learning skills that will lead to a gainful career.”

The GAINS grant program, which awarded more than $1.5 million across five employers, promotes expansion of U.S. Department of Labor-approved Registered Apprenticeship programs to support better-paying careers and advanced credential attainment. The program seeks to develop new and existing apprenticeship programs, create Registered Apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries and bolster workers and businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — such as the health care industry. A particular focus of GAINS grants is supporting underrepresented populations.

The current round of GAINS grantees:

Hamilton Ryker
$529,295 (70 apprentices)
For: Nurse assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, cook
Serving: Burlington, Cumberland, Essex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Union counties

Laury Heating/Cooling
$158,600 (17 apprentices)
For: Heating and air conditioning installers
Serving: Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem counties

Elizabeth Development Co.
$231,934 (30 apprentices)
For: Truck drivers
Serving: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Union, Warren counties

Institute for Life Science Enterpreneurship
$187,600 (20 apprentices)
For: Lab technicians
Serving: Union County

RWJBarnabas Health
$475,000 (50 apprentices)
For: Medical assistant, medical secretary
Serving: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Union and Warren counties

The PACE grant program supports pre-apprenticeship programs that provide education and training to prepare participants for either placement into a Registered Apprenticeship program, a post-secondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or the workforce.

In partnership with a Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor, these programs expand career pathways with industry-based training and classroom instruction, leading to better-paying positions and advanced credentials. The program was developed primarily to promote equal opportunities, upward mobility and economic fairness while helping to alleviate economic barriers that keep workers from learning new skills. PACE programs provide tools such as job readiness, essential skills and occupation-specific training, and funding can be used to offer stipends to offset costs of child care, transportation, the attainment of a high school equivalency diploma or GED.

The current round of PACE grantees:

Bayada Home Healthcare
$194,335 (25 apprentices)
For: Practical nursing
Serving: Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset and Union counties

Raritan Valley Community College
$159,844 (30 apprentices)
For: Health care
Serving: Hunterdon, Somerset counties

Elizabeth Development Co.
$236,912 (30 apprentices)
For: Truck driver
Serving: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Union and Warren counties.

Gov. Phil Murphy established the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network soon after taking office to grow apprenticeship programs in New Jersey and make the Garden State a leader for apprenticeship programs nationwide. Since the governor took office in January 2018, the state has seen increases of up to 92% in new Registered Apprenticeship programs.

Funding from the previous round of GAINS grants was awarded to 11 applicants to onboard 725 apprentices in occupations such as Registered Nurse residency, water and wastewater treatment plant operator, and cybersecurity support technician — among others. Previous PACE grant funding during this fiscal year has supported more than 100 pre-apprentices in advanced manufacturing and carpentry.