NJDOL awards nearly $8M in grants to support apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs

Welder mounts in the trunk pipeline electrochemical protection

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development said it awarded $7.9 million in the most recent round of grant funding through the Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors, or GAINS, and Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education, or PACE, grant programs. These initiatives foster the creation and expansion of apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs throughout the state.

Since 2018, the state has invested approximately $60 million through grant programs to create and develop work-based learning, preapprenticeship and apprenticeship programs across the state. This has supported the creation of 678 new Registered Apprenticeship programs in New Jersey — a more than 100% increase — and enabled 17,454 new apprentices to be onboarded. The state currently has 8,611 active apprentices in 1,289 programs.

“Apprenticeship programs are a win-win for businesses and their workforces,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “Through these programs, employers can build lasting talent pipelines and shape the skilled employees they need to stay competitive, while workers earn a wage along with acquiring advanced training to boost their careers.”

A total of $5 million has been awarded to 13 grantees through the GAINS program, with the expectation of placing 1,018 new apprentices in occupations such as cryogenics mechanical technician, K-12 teacher apprentice, wastewater treatment plant operator, robotics technician and more.

The GAINS program develops new and existing apprenticeship programs and creates Registered Apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries, with a focus on equality of opportunity, upward mobility and economic fairness.

The PACE program has granted just over $2.9 million to eight awardees to place 470 preapprentices in occupations including home health care, massage therapy, advanced manufacturing, and fiber optics, among others.

PACE was developed primarily to alleviate economic barriers that hinder upskilling. Programs provide job readiness, essential skills and occupation-specific training, and funding can be used to offer stipends to offset costs of supportive services, such as child care and transportation.

Preapprenticeship programs funded through PACE provide education and training to prepare participants for placement into a Registered Apprenticeship program, into a postsecondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or into the workforce. PACE programs must be partnered with at least one Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor. Together, the programs expand career pathways with industry-based training and classroom instruction, leading to better-paying positions and advanced credentials.

For the complete lists of the most recent GAINS and PACE grantees, click here.