The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is handing out millions of dollars to help Garden State workers and businesses develop skills and improve productivity.

The grant money is being given to institutions that help to equip workers with the skills employers identify in what are considered to be the state’s eight key industries.

Those industries include advanced manufacturing, construction and utilities, financial services, the food industry, health care, life sciences, retail hospitality and tourism, transportation logistics and distribution and technology.

A total of $3 million is being awarded to NJIT, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Stockton University, the African American Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the profitability and competitiveness of Garden State manufacturers.

Most of the money comes from federal funding, while 20 percent comes from state funds.

Kerri Gatling, the chief of the New Jersey Department of Labor’s Talent Networks, said these specific universities and organizations have been selected to receive Talent Network grant money because they've demonstrated that they have some level of proficiency in those specific industries.

The institutions will develop curricula to ensure students are given training for in-demand skills.

“We want to empower people and communities with knowledge and skills so that they can gain access to career ladders, and we also want to make sure businesses get the skilled workers they need to remain competitive in the regional, national and global economy," she said.

Gatling said that when people get the in-demand job skills they need to advance their careers and get good paying jobs, “then our state economy grows, people want to come here, people want to live here.”

Grant awards:

  • Advanced Manufacturing NJ Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) —$275,000
  • Construction/Utilities (North) NJ Institute of Technology (NJIT) — $275,000
  • Construction/Utilities (South) Rowan University — $275,000
  • Financial Services African American Chamber of Commerce — $275,000
  • Food Industry Rutgers Food Innovation Center — $275,000
  • Health Care Rutgers School of Management & Labor Relations — $275,000
  • Life Sciences Rutgers School of Management & Labor Relations — $275,000
  • Retail, Hospitality and Tourism (North) Fairleigh Dickinson University — $275,000
  • Retail, Hospitality and Tourism (South) Stockton University — $275,000
  • Transportation, Logistics & Distribution NJ Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) — $275,000
  • *Technology Consultants NJ Institute of Technology (NJIT) — $250,000

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