The NJBIA Basic Skills Training Program would receive a minimum of $3 million a year under legislation approved by the Senate Labor Committee this week.
The funding would come from the Supplemental Workforce Fund for Basic Skills and placed in an account dedicated to the NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development and used to administer the Basic Skills Training Program.
“Our members have expressed a high level of satisfaction from the program, and due to its unique flexibility, the program is able to reach more workers and employers than any other state training program,” said Michael Wallace, NJBIA director for Employment, Labor and Federal Affairs. “This bill provides a predictable and consistent funding source for an important workforce development program.”
Through a public-private partnership with the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the consortium, community colleges around the state have supported New Jersey companies and their workforce, regardless of size and at no cost to employers.
Currently, the program receives 13 percent of the total appropriations from the Supplemental Fund. S-3534 (Cunningham, Bateman) would guarantee that the appropriation would equal a minimum of $3 million and provide for extra funding if the percentage falls short of that amount.
The Basic Skills Training Program has offered thousands of classes to help employers provide basic skills training for their employees since its inception in 2007.
To date, it has served over 134,000 employees from over 8,500 private sector companies through 11,449 classes. Last year, the program served 1,068 businesses, 72 percent of which were small businesses.
“The consortium’s ability to provide the administrative support for the program is key to its success,” Wallace said. “It is able to handle the paperwork when working with employers as well as provide annual reporting of the program’s ongoing success.”
The NJBIA Basic and Employability Skills Workforce Training Program is a partnership of the Association, the consortium, the Labor Department and the African American Chamber of Commerce. The partners believe that a well-trained and highly skilled workforce is key to New Jersey’s future economic growth and prosperity.