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NJ Department of Labor announces $1.5M in grants to boost access to worker benefits, protections

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has awarded $1.5 million through a second round of the Cultivating Access, Rights, and Equity (CARE) grant program to 17 grantees, including three collaboratives comprising nine organizations.

NJDOL established the CARE grant to facilitate equitable outreach, education, and access to New Jersey’s many generous benefits and protections for eligible workers, including Temporary Disability Insurance, Family Leave Insurance, and Earned Sick Leave.

The current funding round continues these goals and expands the grant’s focus to include raising employer awareness of these programs and enhancing their capacity to support employees taking leave. The grant includes additional one-time funding for outreach and education on Unemployment Insurance to workers and service providers.

“Family and medical leave is critical to the wellbeing of New Jersey’s workforce, especially for expecting or new parents,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “I am proud that the New Jersey Department of Labor is prioritizing these grants to ensure all employees and employers are informed of the benefits and protections that are afforded here in our state.”

“Our community partners have been invaluable resources as we endeavor to reach workers in every corner of the state,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “As we continue to build these partnerships, we look forward to expanding our efforts even further to bring awareness of the all programs and services that make New Jersey such a great place to work and do business.”

The CARE Program notably supports the work of Nurture NJ, the First Lady’s maternal and infant health initiative which seeks to make New Jersey the safest, most equitable place to deliver and raise a baby. A key recommendation in the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan speaks to expanding the utilization of paid family and medical leave benefits.

Awardees include community organizations, worker centers, domestic violence agencies, service providers, professional associations, libraries, and faith-based groups that have demonstrated trusted relationships with their communities across the state, as well as culturally specific outreach and education methods and the capacity for linking underserved residents and small businesses with government programs.

Grantees will build the capacity of their staff to provide information on paid leave and unemployment benefits through NJDOL trainings, engage in outreach at community events, provide one-on-one counseling to workers, conduct presentations and trainings, run social media and text campaigns, user-test outreach tools and applications, and more.

Jessica Culley, General Coordinator of grantee Comite de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA), said: “CATA is excited to continue partnering with the NJDOL to provide important workers’ rights information to farmworkers and other low-wage immigrant workers throughout Southern New Jersey. In the first year of the grant, we reached over 1,000 workers throughout our region, the majority of whom had not accessed paid sick time.”

The Fiscal Year 2023 CARE grantees are listed below:

Fiscal Year 2023 Cultivating Access, Rights, and Equity (CARE) Round 2


Lead Organization Partner Organizations Counties Served Amount
NJ Citizen Action Education Fund Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)

Laundry Worker Center

New Labor

Wind of the Spirit

National Domestic Workers Alliance

NJ Breastfeeding Coalition (vendor of NJCAEF)

Center for Women and Work












Lakewood Resource & Referral Center Solutions to End Poverty Soon (STEPS) Monmouth


Farmer Worker Support Committee


Allies in Caring

Revive South Jersey








Single Organizations

Organization Counties Amount
Legal Services of New Jersey Statewide $135,000
Immigration &







Jefferson Park Ministries Union $105,000
Perinatal Health Equity Foundation Essex


The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey Mercer $75,000
VietLead Burlington



North Hudson Community Action Corporation Bergen



Centro Comunitario CEUS Hudson $65,000
Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Mercer $55,000
Employers Association of New Jersey Statewide $50,000
MOCEANS Center for Independent Living, Inc. Monmouth


The Hoboken Public Library Hudson $50,000
Second Street Youth Center Foundation, Inc. Union $50,000
Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey Camden


TOTAL $1,500,000

To learn more about the CARE program and other NJDOL grant opportunities, visit

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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