New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Steve Oroho

Committee Clears Bipartisan Bill to Educate Students for Careers in Manufacturing

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Senators Oroho and Greenstein Sponsor Legislation to Prepare a New Generation of Manufacturing Employees

Senator Steven Oroho’s legislation to help New Jersey manufacturers meet the growing demand for skilled workers cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Oroho and Greenstein to help New Jersey manufacturers meet the growing demand for skilled workers cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. (Pixabay)

The bipartisan bill, also sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein and entitled the Manufacturing in Higher Education Act (S-659), would help provide more skilled employees for the expanding manufacturing industry with the establishment of a manufacturing career pathway in the state’s county colleges and vocational schools.

“This bill will help introduce a new generation of workers to promising career opportunities in manufacturing,” said Oroho (R-24). “Manufacturing has made a comeback in New Jersey and businesses are having a difficult time finding qualified candidates to fill jobs.

“Manufacturing businesses in the state are plagued by a shortage of qualified, ready-to-work candidates. Without access to capable workers, manufacturing companies that are ready to increase volume and expand are caught in a holding pattern,” Oroho continued.

Under the bill, the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development – in consultation with the Secretary of Higher Education, the Commissioner of Education, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the New Jersey Council of County Vocational Schools, and representatives of the business community – would support the implementation of the manufacturing career pathway.

The manufacturing career pathway would be offered through the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities Initiative operated by the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce Development. The New Jersey Business & Industry Association would also input.

The pathway program would include instruction in traditional and advanced manufacturing processes and methods of production including the machinery, technology, tools, and equipment used in a wide range of manufacturing industries.

“The last few years have underscored how critical it is to have a strong, New Jersey-based manufacturing industry. I am thrilled this legislation passed through committee with bipartisan support,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “There are several exciting aspects of the ‘Manufacturing in Higher Education Act’ that will positively impact the talent pool of college students pursuing technical skills and manufacturing careers. The passage of this bill would provide a viable path forward, filling skills gaps for manufacturing employers and expanding these kinds of opportunities in our state.”

The measure also establishes a $10 million Higher Education Manufacturing Grant Program to create or expand curriculum in manufacturing, manufacturing engineering or advanced manufacturing at public higher education institutions.

“Manufacturing isn’t viewed prominently as a career option by many young people growing up in New Jersey,” said Oroho. “They may be missing out on stable, potentially lucrative, long-term careers in a growing field. This program will help change lives for those who capitalize on the training and the available jobs.”

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