Gov. Phil Murphy announced a plan to increase New Jersey’s supply of high-skilled labor in an effort to draw businesses to the Garden State and increase career opportunities for job seekers here Wednesday.
“For New Jersey to succeed in the 21st century economy, we must close the gap between the needs of employers and the skills of prospective employees,” Murphy said. “With our new plan, we are addressing this problem head-on by ensuring our residents have the critical training and education they need for jobs that are available and in-demand, and connecting them to those jobs.”
As part of the program, much of which will be carried out via executive action, Murphy’s administration will launch grants aimed at increasing the rates at which university students complete their post-secondary educations.
He’ll also seek to expand upon his free community college program and create a plan to allow students to seek post-secondary education while receiving an apprentice wage.
“Higher education plays a pivotal role in the state’s talent pipeline. It has the potential to change lives, to change businesses, and to change communities,” Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis said. “We will continue to work with our sister agencies and stakeholders by building on progress from the state higher education plan so that we can make the Jobs NJ aspirations a reality for our state.”
The multi-agency plan, called Jobs NJ, focuses much of its attention to matching students with the skillsets sought by businesses in New Jersey.
Murphy said business leaders have regularly told him their biggest barrier to growth was a lack of qualified workers.
As part of the push to encourage students to fill in-demand field, the administration will publish data about high-demand jobs on an annual basis.
“Governor Murphy’s Jobs NJ plan is a bold, comprehensive plan to invest in New Jersey’s most important economic asset — our people,” Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan said. “This is exactly the kind of inter-agency, whole of government approach that the Jobs and Economic Opportunity Council that the Governor convened was designed to foster.”