PARSIPPANY — The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee unanimously passed a bill (A1431), sponsored by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, that supports the growth of manufacturers in the state through education and workforce development.
DeCroce, a member of the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, said the bill will help educators shape programs to meet changing workforce demands in the manufacturing industry.
“As the manufacturing industry grows and becomes more sophisticated, so does the demand for qualified and skilled employees. Our education programs need to evolve with the industry so that we can meet these new demands,” said DeCroce (R-Morris).
The bill requires the education commissioner to establish a list of industry-recognized credentials in the advanced manufacturing field and identify courses of study for careers in emerging manufacturing industries. County vocational schools, institutions of higher education, and the workforce development system will use this information to develop educational and training programs.
“Manufacturing jobs pay well and offer good opportunities for those looking to advance their careers,” said DeCroce. “We should be looking for ways to support this industry. For every $1 spent in manufacturing another $1.82 is added to the economy.”
Under the bill, the secretary of state must designate a manufacturing business liaison to assist companies through the Business Action Center to advertise their business and establish a business referral service. In addition, other state departments, agencies, board and commissions are to support the growth of manufacturing businesses by developing strategies to attract and expand businesses, creating technological opportunities and providing funding assistance.
According to the labor department, there were nearly 9,000 manufacturing businesses in New Jersey employing nearly 245,600 people in 2018. Employment is spread across food, chemical, computer and electronic products, fabricated metals and medical device manufacturers.