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Department of State

Business Assistance Programs

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary

Labor And Workforce Development Assistance Programs

WorkFirst New Jersey

Administered by the NJ Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOLWD), employers can receive up to half of the new employees’ gross wages for up to 26 weeks to help defray the costs of their training. Employment specialists at local One-Stop Career Centers pre-screen job applicants from the WorkFirst New Jersey Food Stamp Employment & Training Programs. A WorkFirst New Jersey participant is someone who is receiving public assistance such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), General Assistance, or non-public assistance Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The most qualified applicants are referred to employers, who interview candidates and make the final hiring decision. Before employers hire a WorkFirst participant, they meet with an OJT specialist from the NJDOLWD to draw up a contract. The contract will outline the OJT training requirements for each position, and specify the level of reimbursement. Key program features:

  • Trainees must be participants in the WorkFirst New Jersey or Food Stamp Employment and Training programs.
  • Trainees must be paid the applicable state or federal minimum wage, or $8.50 an hour, whichever is highest.
  • The contract period must be at least four weeks (20 working days), but not longer than six months (130 working days), depending on the complexity of skills to be learned.
  • Positions must be full time and permanent, except in special situations.
  • Employers will retain trainees as permanent employees upon satisfactory completion of training period.
  • The OJT contract exists at the discretion of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.


  • An OJT specialist will complete all the paperwork
  • You may use OJT reimbursement to help fund the first six months of an apprenticeship program for qualified WorkFirst New Jersey participants.
  • Employers who hire WorkFirst New Jersey participants also may be eligible or the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program (but no during the WorkFirst New Jersey OJT period).

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