What labor and workforce development assistance programs are available to businesses in New Jersey?
Recent Regulations and Resources
1. Workforce Training Grant (Skills Partnership)
Administered by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development (LWD), training grant funds are available to New Jersey employers to upgrade the occupational, literacy and safety skills of their current employees and/or train new employees. The training can consist of on-the-job and/or classroom training. Training can be provided by the employer or by a training provider selected by the employer. The training grant funds provide New Jersey employers with up to 50 percent cost reimbursement assistance to train new or existing employees. Awards are capped at $100,000 for individual businesses and can range up to $1,500 per employee.
2. Opportunity Partnership
LWD helps employers identify an appropriate educational institution or training provider to develop training programs to teach the skills you really need. Upon completing the program, trainees will be qualified for entry-level positions in your company. The partnership creates opportunities and benefits for all stakeholders. You get workers qualified to fill your job openings. The schools get great results - trainees go from graduation directly to a job. Jobseekers get fresh, desirable skills and a quick connection to the job market.
The cost of training is covered by grants paid by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to the training provider, so there's no cost to employers.
Contact a representative at your local One-Stop Career Center.
3. Registered Apprenticeship
Registered apprenticeships are a proven solution for recruiting, training, and retaining world-class talent. This is a relationship between an employer and an employee during which the employee, or apprentice, learns a high-skill occupation. The registered apprenticeship model combines both classroom/related technical instruction (RTI) and on-the-job training. A sponsor, who can be an individual employer or an association of employers, operates the apprentice training programs on a voluntary basis.
4. Employer Partnership
LWD has a program that makes it easier for employers to hire new workers to assist with recovery efforts. The program will reimburse employers 50 percent of a new employee’s wages up to $10,000 to offset the costs of hiring a qualifying new employee for a contract period of 12 or 26 weeks.
5. Targeted Recruitment Services
Offered through LWD, state representatives at regional Business Resource Centers can help relocating employers find workers. Employers can schedule a date, time, and place for LWD representatives to help pre-screen job applicants from the company’s pool of submitted resumes. The Business Resource Center can also market the positive recruitment online by creating flyers that are distributed through partners as well as community and faith-based organizations.
Administered by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DOL), these competitive grants are available to upgrade the skills of workers to ensure that New Jersey employers are more competitive in the global economy. Grant allocations may be applied to the direct cost of training (training vendor fees, training supplies, etc.) as well as the partial reimbursement of wages of workers participating in the training. Awards are capped at $50,000 for companies with 250 employees or fewer and $75,000 for companies with 250 employees or more and can range up to $1,000 per employee trained depending on the complexity and term of the training.
7. Literacy Training Grants
The Department of Labor (DOL) provides financial assistance for basic skills training. Award consideration is given to qualified displaced, disadvantaged, and employed workers. Basic skills training is limited to reading comprehension, math skills, basic computer literacy, English language proficiency, and work readiness skills.
8. Positive Recruitment
Offered through the LWD, state representatives at regional Business Resource Centers can help relocating employers find workers. Employers can schedule a date, time, and place for LWD representatives to help pre-screen job applicants from the company’s pool of submitted resumes. The Business Resource Center can also market the positive recruitment online.
9. WorkFirst New Jersey
Administered by the NJ Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOLWD), employers can receive up to half of the new employees’ gross wages for up to 26 weeks to help defray the costs of their training. Employment specialists at local One-Stop Career Centers pre-screen job applicants from the WorkFirst New Jersey Food Stamp Employment & Training Programs. A WorkFirst New Jersey participant is someone who is receiving public assistance such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), General Assistance, or non-public assistance Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The most qualified applicants are referred to employers, who interview candidates and make the final hiring decision. Before employers hire a WorkFirst participant, they meet with an OJT specialist from the NJDOLWD to draw up a contract. The contract will outline the OJT training requirements for each position, and specify the level of reimbursement.
Key program features:
- Trainees must be participants in the WorkFirst New Jersey or Food Stamp Employment and Training programs.
- Trainees must be paid the applicable state or federal minimum wage, or $8.50 an hour, whichever is highest.
- The contract period must be at least four weeks (20 working days), but not longer than six months (130 working days), depending on the complexity of skills to be learned.
- Positions must be full time and permanent, except in special situations.
- Employers will retain trainees as permanent employees upon satisfactory completion of training period.
- The OJT contract exists at the discretion of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
- An OJT specialist will complete all the paperwork.
- You may use OJT reimbursement to help fund the first six months of an apprenticeship program for qualified WorkFirst New Jersey participants.
- Employers who hire WorkFirst New Jersey participants also may be eligible or the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program (but no during the WorkFirst New Jersey OJT period).
10. Vocational Rehabilitation OJT
The NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) assists businesses in training and retraining productive workers with significant barriers to employment due to disability. Employers may receive up to half of the worker’s salary while the individual learns the essential knowledge and job skills required, in on-the-job training program. DVRS will assist companies in how to obtain tax credits that the company may be eligible for when hiring workers with disabilities.
11. New Jersey Career Connections
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL&WD) launched the New Jersey Career Connections website to link New Jersey job-seekers and employers. The website helps connect the businesses that are creating these jobs to the New Jerseyans who want them.
Features for Job-Seekers include:
• Interactive Job Bank: a resource offering information on more than 165,000 jobs inside the state and another 410,000 jobs within a 50 mile radius of New Jersey.
• Career Assessment: a government link that guides people in assessing their skills, job interests, educational needs and the likelihood of finding a job in the fields they explore.
• Talent Networks: workforce programs provided through employers and educational institutions that help transition workers from disappearing job sectors into potential careers in such growing areas as life sciences and green industries.
• Training: learn about educational opportunities, financial aid, training grants, apprenticeships and the state's Consumer Report Card to evaluate training providers.
• One Stop Career Centers: Information on the location and services available at more than 30 regional Department of Labor offices that offer job-seekers access to computers, phones and copy machines.
Features for Employers include:
• Interactive job bank: a data bank where businesses may instantaneously post job opportunities and search the resumes posted by job-seekers.
• Expert advice: a portal to the state’s Business Representatives who help companies with needs consultation, employee recruitment services, new and incumbent worker training grants, hiring incentives and government navigation
• Grants: information on Customized Training Grants and Literacy Grants that help companies remain competitive by improving the workplace skills of their existing workers and open the possibility of expanding their operations by training new workers.
• Incentive programs: from tax credits to funding through several On-the-Job training programs that give employers financial assistance to expand their staff and ultimately their business operations.
• One Stop Career Centers: learn about how more than 30 regional offices are not just for job-seekers, but also for business owners who need help building their future
12. Work Opportunity Tax Credit
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal credit available to private-for-profit employers who hire from specific targeted groups (see link for list below) of people that have in the past experienced difficulty in securing employment. For the first year of employment, WOTC allows maximum credits of $4,800. Targeted groups include, among others, disabled veterans and unemployed veterans. WOTC has been reauthorized through 2019, and a new category for the Long Term Unemployed has been announced effective January 1, 2016. In order to qualify, a new hire must have been unemployed at least 27 weeks or longer on the day before their start date, AND must have collected unemployment benefits at some time (even one week) during that period of unemployment.
In New Jersey, applications that were submitted in accordance with the IRS Transitional Relief period that ended August 31, 2016 may not be processed until all other applications submitted timely have been processed.
13. Labor Market Information/County Information
The NJ Department of Labor (DOL) maintains a vast array of information important to employers and job seekers. Information categories include: Demographics; Current Employment Statistics; Unemployment Rates & Labor Force Estimates; Industry and Economic Information. This information can be accessed on the DOL’s website.
14. Prevailing Wage Rates
All contractors and subcontractors performing public work for a public body shall post the prevailing wage rates for each craft and classification, including the effective date of any changes to the rate, in a prominent and easily accessible place at the site of the work or at such places that are used by employers to pay workers their wages. Prevailing rates for all 21 counties in New Jersey can be found at the below link.
15. New Jersey County Fact Sheets
The DOL’s Division of Labor Market and Demographic Research has also developed fact sheet for all 21 counties in New Jersey.
16. Occupational Safety & Health On-Site Consultation Program
Available through the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD), employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, and qualify for a one-year exemption. The service is delivered by the LWD using trained safety and health professionals. Consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available. Primarily targeted for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, this safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort. No citations are issued or penalties proposed.
Using the LWD free On-Site Consultation Service, employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, arrange safety and health training, and even qualify for a safety recognition award.
The service is delivered by the LWD, Division of Public Safety and Occupational Safety and Health, using well-trained safety and health professionals. Consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available.
Primarily targeted for smaller businesses (less than 250 employees), this safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort. In addition, no citations are issued or penalties proposed.
Under the Small Business Focus (SBF) initiative, companies with 50 or fewer employees will receive a special priority in scheduling consultations.
To request a free, advisory occupational safety and health consultation, please call (609) 984-0785; or by letter to LWD, Division of Public Safety and Occupational Safety and Health, P.O. Box 953, Trenton, NJ 08625; or by e-mail at email@example.com.
17. Department of Labor and Workforce Development Business Representatives and Veterans Business Representatives
Business Representatives and Veteran Business Representatives work with businesses of all sizes to help them thrive. They assist with growing your business, hiring, recruitment, hiring incentives, and funding assistance for employee training.
To schedule a one-on-one appointment, please contact your local Business Representative or Veteran Business Representative.
Connect with a Business Representative. A full list of contacts is located in the middle of the page.
18. New Jersey Talent Networks
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) is awarding up to $1.6 million to organizations that will serve as “talent networks” by pointing job seekers to opportunity and connecting employers and educators to make sure schools give graduates skills that fit the bill. The program aims to equip applicants for job growth in a handful of sectors. Through talent networks, educational institutions can better understand exactly what employers need from job seekers. The State will distribute federally funded grant money of up to $275,000 each to six networks in different industries (see below). A seventh network is planned for green jobs. Networks will hold employment events, career expos, and other meetings.
19. Workforce Development Boards (WDBs)
WDBs are policy Boards for occupational skills training and educational programs. Local elected officials appoint WIB members to volunteer positions on the WDB. WDBs are charged with integrating publicly funded workforce services and job training programs into a system that is flexible, seamless, accountable, and responsive to the needs of both workers and businesses. The WDB acts like a Board of Directors to identify the needs of the local job market, leverage resources, oversee One-Stop Career Centers, and direct workforce investment programs. WDBs work in conjunction with economic development organizations to promote economic growth and the full utilization of the workforce. Note: In 1996, New Jersey Executive Order #36 created workforce investment boards in New Jersey. Subsequently, the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 mandated them within all states and U.S. territories. Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), these boards were re-named workforce development boards (WDBs).
20. County Colleges
New Jersey’s 19 County Colleges provide a host of services to New Jersey’s business community, including support for professional development and continuing education. Community colleges will often act as grant writers and provide training for employers seeking workforce training grants from the NJ Department of Labor (see “Customized Training Grant Program” in “Workforce Training, Recruitment, Labor Market, Worker Safety” section above.)
View a full list of County College contacts. The list is at the bottom of the page.
21. NJ Employer Access
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is upgrading to a new, more user-friendly jobs platform. This new portal will provide employers with the most up-to-date and responsive information available on job openings, labor market data, employment resources, and more.
All you have to do to join the new National Labor Exchange (NLx) New Jersey Employer Access platform is click here to register.