What’s the best way for the New Jersey economy to be revitalized and recharged from the disruption caused by COVID?
New report offers recommendations for rebuilding Garden State’s workforce in a post-pandemic economy.
Chrissy Buteas, director of government affairs for the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said that over the past few months, a Focus NJ ad hoc task force made up of more than 100 business, academic and government experts has formulated a series of recommendations.
“We all need to work together – businesses, universities and our educational institutions and our government officials… to make sure we make the connection,” she said.
Buteas said the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact “especially on our first generation students, students of color, women, minority workers, as well as people with disabilities and low-income families.”
“The task force’s recommendations provide the framework to reconfigure, reshape and rehire New Jersey at a critical time when there has been so much economic and labor disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “These difficult times demand that New Jersey prioritize strategic planning for long-term workforce solutions. “
Expand partnerships and improve state-level collaboration between employers, educational institutions and government agencies through the establishment of a Workforce Development Committee under the auspices of the New Jersey Presidents’ Council, which represents community colleges and public and private four-year colleges and universities in the state.
Create strategic partnerships between the new Workforce Development Committee and the various County Workforce Development Councils in New Jersey to increase communication and collaboration on workforce development issues.
Train for the jobs of today and tomorrow with predictive analytics identify emerging industries and modify the credit and non-credit degree programs to accurately reflect the skill sets needed for jobs in the Garden State.
Create continuing education courses in emerging industries for K-12 teachers, who are required to earn at least 20 professional development hours each year.
Increase career awareness through activities such as “career planning seminars” in college and early high school introduce students to career paths and the educational requirements that go with them.
Improve corporate volunteering and mentoring programs in Kindergarten to Grade 12 classrooms.
Develop a recognized, coordinated and industry standardized roadmap for accreditation and certifications which clearly describes the entry routes to degree programs.
Increase recognition of the value of all types of higher education and career path options, including ramps to credentials, diplomas and professional development.
Create a “Back to Work” public messaging campaign promote safe return to work and development / re-qualification opportunities for displaced and unemployed workers.
Develop corporate tax credits and gross income tax credits to include companies that invest in employee workforce development training.
Ensure equitable access to education and workforce development opportunities,
Improve underperforming school districts.
Advocacy with the New Jersey Congressional delegation for the expansion of federal Pell Grants to uncredited learners and graduate students.
Pass legislation to expand eligibility for financial aid from the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority of New Jersey and offer low-income students the opportunity to receive training scholarships for certification programs and / or no credit in demand provided by state-approved training providers.
Developing New Jersey’s Transportation Systems increase commuting options for those seeking workforce education and training.
Create tax credits for businesses to encourage employers to subsidize employee travel expenses use public transportation to get to work or take training or workforce development courses.
Make sure everyone in New Jersey has reliable and consistent access to broadband, as well as computer hardware and software.
Continue to investing in child care, early childhood education and universal preschool at a lower cost for low-income families.
Improve and promote the value of diversity, equity and inclusion.
The full report on the education equation is available here.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at [email protected]
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