With more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs throughout the country going unfilled this past September, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling sponsored legislation to help connect New Jersey workers with these abundant positions. The legislation was signed into law Thursday.
Employers are finding that a growing skills gap in the field of manufacturing is leaving them without qualified candidates, despite having plenty of jobs available. The law (previously bill A-4023) would add manufacturers to the list of prioritized employers in the existing Workforce Development Partnership Program in an effort to supply the industry with a higher amount of skilled workers.
The program provides certain workers with employment and training services to help them keep or obtain a job and have the opportunity to advance in their career. When the state evaluates which employers to award grants to for these services, the current program gives preference to those who provide services or supplies to military bases, plan to train veterans or are involved in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.
Manufacturing employers would be expected to comply with existing program provisions, including justifying why the funding is needed, explaining how many employees would be trained and describing their plan to improve their business in the long run.
“Helping New Jersey employers properly train their workforce will help create, upgrade and retain jobs to which our residents wouldn’t otherwise have access,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “By adding manufacturing employers, we’re opening up a whole new field with a variety of positions that will empower people to become more self-sufficient and employable.”