TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice and Senator Troy Singleton that would require the Commissioner of Education to develop guidelines to encourage high school students to participate in apprenticeship training cleared the Senate last Friday.
“The middle-skill labor market will become increasingly more important over the next decade. However, the problem is that New Jersey does not produce enough of these skilled workers as they require a little bit more training after high school,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “If we get kids in our schools involved in apprenticeships, this will expose them to learning opportunities and on-the-job experiences. This can be a significant boost in economic stability for many people.”
“The job openings in the middle-skill labor market will be over 50 percent of all job openings in the state over the next decade. New Jersey severely lacks this number of people who are qualified for these jobs,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Youth apprenticeships are a great way for students to see what opportunities are out there for them.”
The bill, S-372, would require 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 services with representatives of the New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council for purposes of encouraging student participation in apprenticeships and raising awareness of apprenticeship opportunities.
Examples of middle-skill labor jobs include: electricians, paralegals, dental hygienists, and police officers.
The bill was passed by the Senate by a vote of 37-0, and next heads to the Assembly for further consideration.