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.
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.