The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has announced $3.5 million in available funding through the Growing Apprenticeships in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) grant program.
The mission of the GAINS program is to promote the expansion of US Department of Labor-approved Registered Apprenticeship programs to support better-paying careers and attainment of advanced industry credentials. The program seeks to develop new apprenticeship opportunities and expand existing ones, create Registered Apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries as outlined in the Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO), and bolster workers and businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The earn-while-you-learn model benefits both workers and employers by providing a wage along with experience and learned skills so our workforce is prepared for jobs in high-demand industry sectors,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Apprenticeship programs can exist in practically any field, from construction to clean energy to healthcare, so creating more of these opportunities will help us rebuild our workforce in the wake of the pandemic. We are especially proud of the career opportunities this grant gives to new populations of workers.”
The GAINS grant is part of Governor Murphy’s New Jersey Apprenticeship Network, an initiative that seeks to make the Garden State a leader in apprenticeship programs nationwide, and provide options for all New Jerseyans to build meaningful careers across a wide range of employers. The Apprenticeship Network is part of Governor Murphy’s Jobs NJ initiative, which seeks to ensure that prospective workers have the skills and education they need to match 21st century workforce needs.
Since Governor Murphy took office three years ago, 416 new Registered Apprenticeship programs have been created – a 68% increase – and 7,138 new apprentices have been onboarded. The state currently has 8,994 active apprentices serving in 1,027 programs.
“A Registered Apprenticeship laid the foundation for me to go from the construction site to Congress,” said Rep. Donald Norcross. “The Registered Apprenticeship program is America’s most successful workforce training program, and expanding access to Registered Apprenticeship opportunities will connect workers with stable, good-paying jobs as we continue to fight the pandemic and an economic crisis. The GAINS grant program will assist our local organizations in providing students and workers with innovative, high-end industry programs so they may pursue apprenticeships right here in New Jersey.”
Since its inception, the GAINS program prioritized applications that target underrepresented populations. GAINS grants have provided unprecedented opportunities for women and people of color, with more than two-thirds of GAINS grantees being females or minorities, which is twice the average among all apprenticeship programs in the state.
GAINS is currently supporting 733 active apprentices from investments made in FY19 and 20, of which 54% are women – six times that national average of 9% – and 36% of whom identify as a member of an underrepresented group – nearly 2.5 times the national average of 15%.
Currently, more than half of GAINS apprentices are in the healthcare sector and supporting the COVID-19 response. These grants, from prior-year awards, are supporting 172 businesses across New Jersey who are partnered with current GAINS grant recipients and providing on-the-job training to the apprentices. This progress could not have been achieved without incredible work from our partners at the US Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship in New Jersey, who have facilitated the development of high-quality apprenticeship programs and timely registration.
Applicants must submit a Letter of Intent to express interest in the grant opportunity by noon, May 21. Completed applications must be received by noon, May 28. Proposals must provide new apprentices a starting wage of no less than $16 per hour. GAINS funding can be used to reimburse up to 50 percent of new apprentices’ wages for a maximum of 12 months.
The NJDOL will host two technical assistance workshops via teleconference, on April 27 and May 4, to provide guidance to interested parties who meet the application requirements of the NGO. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a workshop, and must preregister at least three days in advance here.