New Jersey has the best K-12 school system in the country, doesn’t it? This must mean that our workforce is exactly what our economy needs, right? Not so fast …
By Christopher Emigholz, NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs October 4, 2021
We’ve all seen the headlines this summer describing the challenges of finding qualified employees, or really employees for that matter. While this has certainly been exacerbated by several factors related to the pandemic, it is not a new issue for New Jersey employers. It is and has been one of the most common comNJBIA hears complaints from its members across many industries. As someone whose job it is to fight unnecessary tax increases, dare I say that there are employers who even argue that finding good employees is an even bigger challenge than New Jersey’s. high tax burden.
So what is causing this problem?
On the one hand, our schools are not doing a good enough job. Senator Teresa Ruiz of Newark, the chair of the Senate Education Committee, often notes that despite our high overall ranking, too many sschools still fail our children. In addition, the education system is NOT designed to meet the needs of the economy. NJBIA has been and will continue to advocate for higher standards, greater accountability and more choice within our K-12 system. to fix it, but more is needed.
This summer, we took our advocacy for workforce development to a whole new, more direct level. We have successfully lobbied for $ 11.5 million in workforce development funding from the state budget and are excited to go our separate wayswork with our community colleges to turn this funding into meaningful resources for our employers and employees who need help more than ever.
NJBIA and New Jersey Community Colleges Partner on Pathways to Career Opportunities Project to establish collaborations involving K-12 education, higher education, private vocational schools, workforce development councils, unions, community organizations, government and of course , businesses, to guide the training needed in critical industries within our economy. Each collaboration will oversee several centers of excellence in key professions. These will be community driven colleges, but designed to end workforce development silos and share best practices for each industrytesting and occupation occurs in all training and education providers.
NJBIA wants a dynamic system where all employers can access the resources they need to find and / or develop the workforce they need. To this end, we are excited about this transtraining opportunity with our community colleges, and we look forward to engaging our members.
The NJBIA is also delighted that the $ 11.5 million included funds to restore and expand the NJBIA’s successful basic skills training program, which was used by thousands of companies to train more than 100,000 employees. Although labor issues are one of the main challenges for businesses, state support had been reduced in the previous fiscal year. This funding from the state budget will allow the program to develop bothe when employers are desperate to retain and develop their employees. This training is a win-win as employees learn transferable skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives, while employers improve the quality of their workforce and hopefully improve the quality of their workforce.conductivity.
Despite all the talk about everyone supporting workforce development, the NJBIA is thrilled to finally see the state putting money where it is. NJBIA thanks the bipartisan supporters of this Workforce Development Funding in the Legislature and GoVernor’s office. After the economic devastation caused by the pandemic, we look forward to leaving a lasting mark in this critical area of ââour economy, as workforce development equals economic development.
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