Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have introduced a bill to support New Jersey’s vital manufacturing industry.
The bill, (A4315) makes a General Fund supplemental appropriation of $250,000 to the Department of State for the purpose of funding the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. These monies are required to be used, subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting, to coordinate and maximize the efficiency of Statewide worker training, as well as to employ underserved and underemployed veterans and other State residents in need of long-term employment.
“As a member of the Bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, I understand what these businesses are up against,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “NJMEP plays a key role in supporting our manufacturing industry and, in turn, our State economy. We are proud to support this vital organization.”
“Manufacturing is a key industry here in New Jersey, making major contributions to our economy and employing hundreds of thousands of hardworking residents,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “It is imperative that we, as legislators, work to support our manufacturing industry and organizations like NJMEP that advocate on behalf of manufacturing business owners and employees.”
New Jersey’s $46 billion manufacturing industry creates 250,000 direct and 1,000,000 related jobs.
The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (“NJMEP”) has contributed to this success with an 11:1 return on investment, including over 32,000 jobs added or saved. NJMEP is now the foremost nationally rated manufacturing extension program. Until the 2008 economic crisis, NJMEP was funded like most State MEPs: one-third federal funds, one-third State funds, and one-third MEP self-generated funds. NJMEP is working with manufacturers to effectively identify and train workers to fill over 33,000 unfilled manufacturer jobs.
NJMEP has an opportunity to receive an additional $250,000 in federal matching funds, to be used to support entry-level training programs that will provide credentials to all State residents, with a focus on the underserved, veterans, under-employed, and re-entry workers in diverse areas of State manufacturing. Furthermore, the $250,000 in State funds afforded by this supplemental appropriation will guarantee that NJMEP will have $500,000 in additional funds to fill job vacancies. NJMEP’s proven 11:1 return on investment indicates that the funds will help secure the State’s efforts to grow jobs in underserved communities and to keep companies located in, and hiring in, the State.