DOL announces $4M in funding to help women, minorities pursue construction trade careers

In an attempt to help women and minority groups have more access to careers in the construction trades, the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced last week that it is making $4 million in funding available through the New Jersey Builders Utilization Initiative for Labor Diversity program.

The announcement was not in connection with the recent disparity study that showed women and minority groups received an astonishingly low percentage of state bids.

This announcement, in fact, goes back to legislation enacted in 2009, which was designed to provide training opportunities for women and minorities in the construction and construction-related trades so they can realize equal employment opportunities in public contracting.

“Women and minority groups have for too long faced significant barriers to entry and advancement in the construction industry,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “Through NJBUILD, we’re helping industry employers take positive steps to enhance diversity and inclusion in their workforces and offer a rewarding career pathway to a new population of workers.”

Construction trade unions have for years made efforts to improve the number of women and minorities in their unions — with some saying it’s a key to a prosperous future.

This targeted, competitive grant provides funding for eligible organizations to provide construction trades training, placement services and support to women and minority populations.

In regard to this program, the following types of organizations are eligible to apply as lead applicants:

  • Employers based in New Jersey or with a New Jersey presence;
  • Workforce intermediary sponsors;
  • Employer/trade associations;
  • Labor organizations representing workers in the occupation in which participants will be trained;
  • Labor/management partnerships (public or private);
  • New Jersey local education agencies;
  • Public high schools or vocational schools within New Jersey;
  • Two- and four-year institutions of higher education;
  • Public or private nonprofit organizations;
  • Business or trade organizations representing a particular trade, group of trades, contractors or employers;
  • Community-based organizations;
  • New Jersey local workforce development boards;
  • Economic development organizations;
  • State, local and county governments within New Jersey;
  • Any other private educational or training entity that is on the Eligible Training Provider List.

Applicants are required to show they are able to provide quality support services to ensure successful employment placement for participants.

Key events/dates:

  • Tuesday and Feb. 28: Virtual technical assistance workshops;
  • March 8: Letter of intent due by noon;
  • March 15: Application due by noon.