The problem is that there is an existing gap between labor and the skills needed to fill positions across various industries. According to McKinsey and Company, 40% of American employers say they cannot find people with the skills they need for entry-level jobs; 60% of American employers say applicants are not prepared for entry level jobs. This law also addresses getting unemployed and underemployed individuals back to work – in New Jersey, according to the US Department of Labor, approximately 9% of our workforce is underutilized, amounting to more than 418,000 workers.
The new law will direct the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, in consultation with the Higher Education, county colleges, county vocational schools, and the Adult Education-High School Equivalency Office, to design and implement a pilot program through which an eligible adult may obtain a career and technical certificate on an accelerated schedule. The law will require the commissioner to ensure that the pilot program includes at least 20 “industry recognized” certificate programs, and that the maximum time to complete a program does not exceed 12 months. The law will also require that each course offered through the program integrates appropriate math, English, career and technical instruction.