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Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Carol Murphy and Anthony Verrelli establishing a Talent Network Program in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) was signed into law by the governor Monday.

The bill (A-3417) passed both houses in October 2018. When it received a conditional veto from the governor, the revised bill was then approved by the Senate in February 2019 before returning to the Assembly for approval in June.

This DOLWD program charges select organizations — all of which possess expertise in their particular industries — with the task of determining the state’s workforce needs and taking action to help fulfill them. Each consortium must work towards a specific set of goals as outlined in the bill. These goals include establishing partnerships with employers to determine what necessary skills and education candidates are lacking, then collaborating with educators to ensure their programs suitably prepare the participants.

Other aspects of this program include the hosting of an annual industry summit as well as the development and distribution of career and labor market information.

Nine different industries are the focus of this program, including life science, healthcare, technology, transportation and hospitality. This law will require the DOLWD to allocate funds to the consortia of nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions and industry associations to ensure these goals can be met.

DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex), Murphy (D-Burlington) and Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) released the following joint statement about the legislation:

“This Talent Network Program is an effective way to identify the needs of employers and develop our educational and training programs accordingly. It is crucial to understand which skills the workforce lacks and which are in-demand in order to align our preparatory programs with the reality of each industry. We are confident this network will assist job-seekers in obtaining career positions while ultimately boosting our state’s economy.”

The bill will take effect immediately.

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