Vin Gopal

Senator

Long Branch, NJ

Vin Gopal is a lifelong Monmouth County resident, born in Neptune Township and raised in Freehold. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Penn State, he spent years building his business from the ground up; it now has fourteen employees and is based out of Tinton Falls and Hazlet. As a successful small business owner, Vin was the President of the Hazlet Township Business Owners Association and served on the Board of Directors for the Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce, where he chaired the Chamber's Government Affairs Committee.

Vin is also the Founder and President of a 501c(3) organization dedicated to helping Monmouth County charities and individuals in need. He is a past Board Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County, has served as a volunteer EMT for the Colts Neck and Freehold First Aid squads, and currently volunteers with the Long Branch Fire Department. Senator Gopal is the New Jersey Senate Majority Conference Leader, Chairman of the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, Vice-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and serves on the Senate Economic Growth Committee and Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

According to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, service-connected disabled veterans had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in August, 1.4 percent higher than the national unemployment rate.

Fortunately, many institutions have developed specific programs and services designed to enhance veteran success in higher education. These programs are specifically designed to help veterans thrive in civilian life.

Despite federal education benefits, service disabled veterans still face barriers from accessing these programs. One barrier preventing veterans from taking advantage of these programs is overall cost, especially for those veterans who have not lived in New Jersey for long enough to qualify for in-state tuition.

Solution

This law qualifies any veteran that has received a discharge that is other than dishonorable and has a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% from the Department of Veterans Affairs for in-state tuition at New Jersey public institutions of higher education, regardless of how long that individual has lived in New Jersey.

By removing such an expensive barrier to higher education, this bill opens more doors to job training and career advancement opportunities for a vulnerable population. With more easily available resources, service-connected disabled veterans can increase their ability to succeed in civilian society.


Problem

There are several industries in New Jersey that are experiencing a shortage of qualified workers. These in-demand industries - such as nursing, manufacturing, construction trades, and transportation logistics - offer secure, well-paying jobs. In July 2019, New Jersey added 1,600 jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities, 1,200 jobs in manufacturing, and 500 jobs in construction.

At the same time, almost one million New Jersey residents reported living with income levels below the federal poverty line last year. That does not account for a living wage and New Jersey's above-average cost of living.

Solution

New Jersey boasts some of the best career and technical education programs in the country. However, these programs might not be accessible to all students based on where they live.

Under this bill, community colleges and school districts that currently lack vocational training programs can directly benefit a partnership with an existing program. Existing career and technical education programs know what works and what does not, and how to best meet students' and industries' needs.

By fostering this kind of partnership, schools can create programs that strengthen and expand New Jersey's network of career and technical education programs, and bring valuable job training opportunities closer to the people who need them most.