Menendez Announces Proposals in Camden County to Close Skills Gap & Help Unemployment By Connecting Workers With In-Demand Jobs

Menendez Announces Proposals in Camden County to Close Skills Gap & Help Unemployment By Connecting Workers With In-Demand Jobs

Camden County - At events at Camden County College (CCC) and Bergen Community College today, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced a set of proposals designed to help close the gap created by jobs that are available, but cannot be filled due to lack of workers with the necessary specialized skills. As the economy slowly recovers and demand for skilled workers in specialized fields grows, it is estimated we will need an additional 3 million skilled workers to fill jobs by 2018. This so-called skills gap can create lost productivity for businesses that will miss out on the workers they need, less wages for workers who remain in low skill jobs, and slower long-term economic growth for New Jersey and the nation.

"We need a national commitment to provide Americans the opportunity to learn the skills that businesses are looking for in a 21st century economy," said Menendez. "It's not rocket science -- people need jobs and businesses need skilled workers. So let's give businesses a tax incentive to train these unemployed New Jerseyans and let's build additional successful partnerships between businesses and colleges. It's a win-win for everyone. Workers can access good jobs with new skills training, businesses can hire to fill their needs, and our economy can grow at a faster pace."

Menendez's proposals include a competitive tax creditprogram to encourage workforce partnerships between businesses and colleges, and a tax credit up to $3,000 for any American business that is willing to train a long-term unemployed worker for an open job.

In Southern New Jersey, Senator Menendez highlighted West-Ward Pharmaceuticals of Eatontown, and U.S. Vision with a laboratory in Blackwood, who have successfully partnered with CCC. Since 2009, West-Ward has trained over 300 employees with instruction from CCC and U.S. Vision has trained more than 70 workers. CCC also partners with the NJBIA, NJ Biotechnology Workforce Investment Initiative, NJ Utilities Association Workforce Initiative and the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development. In the past five years, CCC has served 107 companies, training 1,504 employees.

"Here at Camden County College, we are aggressively pursuing innovative programs to provide workers with the skills to meet the needs of local businesses. Senator Menendez's effort to train workers, particularly the unemployed, is a much needed catalyst for recovery and will help meet our nation's demands for skilled labor in the 21st Century," said Dr. Raymond Yannuzzi, President of Camden County College.

"I applaud Senator Menendez's efforts in taking a program that is successful in training workers here in New Jersey and growing it and bringing it nationwide. Many folks want to improve their work skills but may not have the extra time to do so because of work and/or family demands. The NJBIA Grant offers them a win-win solution to attend free classes on the clock and learn a new skill. The benefit to the company is a productive workforce," said Barbara Pugliese, Manager of Training Development at West-Ward Pharmaceuticals.

Menendez made a similar announcement earlier in the day at Bergen Community College.

Specifically, Senator Menendez's plan would:

Competitive Tax-Credit Program for Job Training Partnerships:

This proposal will provide $1 billion in funding for a competitive tax credit to encourage partnerships between businesses and colleges. Because the application is competitive, awards will be prioritized to those partnerships that demonstrating:

  • The greatest probability that those who complete the program will secure employment;
  • The greatest potential for providing workers who complete the program with skills that can provide long-term job and income security;
  • The strongest market demand for the type of training offered;
  • The greatest probability that the program would create a net increase in job training opportunities;
  • A strong need in the community for skills training;
  • The ability to allow nontraditional learners to complete the training;
  • The ability and capacity to implement the program in a reasonable period of time;
  • Ability to leverage additional sources of capital

Additional consideration should be given for those applications that show:

  • An ability to match the tax-credit award with capital from other sources, whether private or otherwise; AND
  • The greatest ability to offer training programs that result in an industry recognized credential that is stackable and/or portable

Tax Credit for Businesses Who Train Long-Term Unemployed:

Of the 13 million unemployed Americans, nearly one-third have been out of work for one year or longer. Chairman Bernanke has called long-term unemployment a national crisis, saying "this is unheard of, they are losing the skills they had, they are losing their connections to the labor force."

This proposal would provide any business that is willing to train a long-term unemployed worker for an open job that needs a certain type of certificate or other training credential a tax credit up to $3,000 for the costs of that training. The business would have to be based in the U.S. and the training would have to be in coordination with an institution of higher learning.

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Press Contact

Menendez Press Office 202-224-4744