NJDOL makes additional $2.2M available in grants to increase awareness, access to worker benefits, protections

keyboard with key for grants

The Cultivating Access, Rights, and Equity, or CARE, grant program has been expanded and $2.2 million in new funding has been made available, according to a Monday announcement from the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

First launched in March 2022, the CARE grant funds outreach, education and technical assistance programs to increase equitable access to New Jersey’s worker benefits and protections, including paid leave and Unemployment Insurance.

This year, workers’ rights under state Wage and Hour law have been added to the program, including wage theft, misclassification and the newly enacted Temporary Workers Bill of Rights.

“I’m excited to announce we’re expanding the CARE grant to cover more work rights,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “Partnering with community organizations has proven to be a valuable resource for reaching focused worker populations who may not know, understand or utilize all their work rights. This grant helps us reach directly into communities to increase education, awareness and access.”

In its first year, CARE grantees directly reached more than 46,000 workers through community events, one-on-one outreach, counseling and workshops, and many more through social media, mass messaging and hyperlocal advertising.

CARE aims to reach workers who need increased access to their work rights, and employers who require information about their obligations and compliance. Focus populations include low-wage workers, workers of color, immigrants, women, refugees, survivors of domestic/sexual violence, young workers, small businesses, immigrant-owned businesses and other employers that need helpful resources and assistance.

Eligible grant applicants must demonstrate their role as a trusted resource within their focus communities, as well as their capacity, experience and history of success providing outreach, education, technical assistance and/or support. Public and private nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, state-recognized tribal governments with 501(c)(3) status and state and local government entities may apply. Applicants can submit proposals as individual organizations or as a collaborative with a lead agency.

CARE grant awards are expected to range between $50,000 and $200,000, but NJDOL may consider applications above or below this range where appropriate justification is provided.

View complete details and the full Notice of Grant Opportunity here.