On Thursday, May 16, Senior Counsel and Director of the Economic Mobility Initiative Demelza Baer testified before the New Jersey General Assembly Labor Committee in support of four bills, which were unanimously passed by the Committee. These bills include A-4604 (S-3066), which would support the development of three adult apprenticeship pilot programs in high-growth industries in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state; A-4655 (S-3063), which would provide tuition fee waivers for apprenticeship courses at public colleges and universities, and county vocational schools; A-4656 (S-3064), which would establish a task force to develop a state plan to diversify apprenticeships, especially by gender, race, and disability status, through industry-specific recommendations; and A-4829 (S-3068), which would establish a peer-to-peer statewide apprenticeship mentoring program for women, people of color, and people with disabilities, all groups that are currently under-represented in federally-registered apprenticeship programs. The Institute's written testimony is available here.
These four bills are part of a package of 10 bills championed by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz to implement the policy recommendations in the Institute's report, Becoming the United States of Opportunity: The Economic Equity and Growth Case for Apprenticeships. The New Jersey Senate has already passed eight of these 10 bills, and more legislative activity is anticipated in the next month. These bills will collectively make the State of New Jersey a national model for a truly inclusive apprenticeship program that fosters economic mobility; advances racial, gender, and social justice; and strengthens our business community and economy.