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NJDOL announces additional $4M in grants to train apprentices in nontraditional fields

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has announced a second round of $4 million in available funding through the Growing Apprenticeships in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) grant program.

The first round of $3.5 million for the fiscal year was released in September 2022.

The GAINS grant program promotes expansion of United States Department of Labor-approved Registered Apprenticeship programs to support better-paying careers and the attainment of advanced credentials. The program seeks to develop new and existing apprenticeship programs and create Registered Apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries. The particular focus of GAINS grants is to promote equality of opportunity, upward mobility, and economic fairness.

“The earn-while-you-learn model plays a critical role in developing trained and skilled workers where they’re needed most, and removes the tough choice between learning new skills and earning a wage,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Apprenticeship programs provide workers with the stability of a fair wage during training and throughout their careers.”

The GAINS program prioritizes applications targeting underrepresented populations as specified in the Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO). GAINS grants have provided unprecedented opportunities for women and people of color, with more than two-thirds of GAINS grantees being females or minorities, twice the average among all apprenticeship programs in the state.

Women account for 67 percent of GAINS apprentices, greater than seven times the statewide average of female apprentices when Governor Murphy took office in 2018. Currently, more than half of GAINS apprentices are in the healthcare sector and supporting the COVID-19 response.

Adelina Garcia, Director of Workforce Development of grantee BAYADA Home Health Care, said, “the statewide shortage of nurses forces BAYADA to complement traditional hiring practices with innovative recruitment and preparation pathways that leverage the apprenticeship model to build new talent. The New Jersey GAINS grant has enabled BAYADA to scale its apprenticeship program across the state and launch participants into high-quality, well-paying jobs that serve our communities.”

Kasie Harris, C.E.O. and co-owner of grantee Laury Heating Cooling of Vineland, said, “The GAINS grant has advanced our system of growing internal talent into industry leaders. We have a vision for offering opportunity to our members, especially young people with a desire to work with their minds AND their hands to serve the people of South Jersey. The grant has allowed us to offer competitive wages to our apprentices and various benefits. It has certainly put the company on a positive trajectory and we are excited about future growth.”

Proposals must provide new apprentices a starting wage of no less than $16 per hour, unless a lower rate is justified. GAINS funding can be used to reimburse up to 50 percent of new apprentices’ wages for a maximum of $12,000 per apprentice over 52 work weeks.

Previous GAINS grant funding in fiscal year 2023 was awarded to eight applicants to onboard more than 700 apprentices in occupations such as nursing, plumbing, electrical maintenance, cyber security, community health, home health aide, pharmacy support, operating engineer, associate preschool teacher, hair stylist, massage therapist, and truck driver – among others.

The GAINS grant is part of Governor Murphy’s New Jersey Apprenticeship Network, an initiative that seeks to make the Garden State a leader for apprenticeship programs nationwide and provide options for all New Jerseyans to build meaningful careers across a wide range of employers. During Governor Murphy’s administration, New Jersey has created 544 new Registered Apprenticeship programs – an 89 percent increase – and on-boarded 13,483 new apprentices. The state currently has more than 8,200 active apprentices in over 1,150 programs.

Key dates:

  • March 16, 1 pm and March 24, 1 pm: Virtual technical assistance (TA) workshops (pre-registration required at least three business days prior to  workshop date; applicants are strongly encouraged to attend)
  • April 6: Letter of Intent due by noon
  • April 14: Application due by noon

To view the complete details and the full Notice of Grant Opportunity, click here.

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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