TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (S372) into law that will help encourage high school students to participate in apprenticeship training.
The bill instructs the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, to develop guidelines for use by high school counselors to coordinate with the New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council to raise awareness and encourage student participation in apprenticeships.
Primary sponsors of the bill were Senator Ronald Rice, Jr., Senator Troy Singleton, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez, and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy.
“It is vitally important to our state’s future that young people be introduced to the trades and have information at their fingertips as they explore their career path,” said Governor Murphy. “This program will help ensure that apprenticeship is an option for any of our state’s high school students.”
“Apprenticeships are critically important, especially at this point in time,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “Students today are graduating college with a tremendous amount of debt, and it’s important to provide young people with the opportunity to explore multiple career pathways, so they can successfully learn and earn when they graduate high school.”
“Opportunities in the middle-skill labor market will be over 50 percent of all job openings in the state over the next decade. At the present time, New Jersey does not have enough qualified workers for these jobs,” said Senator Singleton. “Youth apprenticeships are a great way for students to see what opportunities are out there for them in the future.”
“A traditional college experience may not be the best fit for every student,” said Assemblyman DeAngelo. "That’s why apprenticeships, which help students gain valuable skills and work experience, are a great way for students to prepare for the workforce. This new law will help connect students with valuable apprenticeship opportunities and begin working towards a career.”
“Young adults who pursue apprenticeships often start their program as high school students,” said Assemblywoman Lopez. “They exit as highly qualified, skilled workers equipped with the tools necessary to build a successful career. I look forward to seeing apprenticeship training programs in New Jersey grow and thrive under this new law.”
“Apprenticeships are a win-win for trainees and employers alike; apprentices gain valuable skills they’ll use throughout their careers and employers have access to experienced laborers who have a deeper understanding of the job at hand. Education and job training are vital tools in revitalizing our economy and improving quality of life in New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Murphy.