ASSEMBLY, No. 2425

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2024 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman  REGINALD W. ATKINS

District 20 (Union)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywomen Bagolie and Reynolds-Jackson

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides that State pay high school equivalency exam fees for low-income individuals.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As reported by the Assembly Education Committee with technical review.

  


An Act concerning high school equivalency exam fees, supplementing chapter 50A of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, and amending P.L.1992, c.43.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  a.  No later than six months following the effective date of P.L.    , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the State Board of Education shall establish a program to pay the fee of a high school equivalency exam on behalf of a low-income individual.  The State board shall specify the manner in which an individual may apply for the payment, including the documentation that shall be used to verify the individual’s income.  The program established by the State board shall not provide payment for more than one exam for an individual.

     b.    As used in this section:

     “High school equivalency exam” means any adult education assessment approved by the State board as a basis for qualifying for a State-issued high school diploma;

     “Low-income individual” means an individual who resides in a household in which the household income is less than or equal to 185 percent of the most recent federal poverty guidelines available.

 

     2.    Section 9 of P.L.1992, c.43 (C.34:15D-9) is amended to read as follows:

     9.  a.  A restricted, nonlapsing, revolving Workforce Development Partnership Fund, to be managed and invested by the State Treasurer, is hereby established to: provide employment and training services to qualified displaced, disadvantaged and employed workers by means of training grants or customized training services; provide for the other costs indicated in subsection a. of section 4 of P.L.1992, c.43 (C.34:15D-4); provide for the New Jersey Innovation and Research Fellowship Program as provided for in section 3 of P.L.2015, c.235 (C.34:15D-26); provide for the Talent Network Program as provided for in section 2 of P.L.2019, c.125 (C.34:15D-29); and facilitate the provision of education and training to youth by means of grants provided by the Youth Transitions to Work Partnership pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1993, c.268 (C.34:15E-1 et al.).  All appropriations to the fund, all interest accumulated on balances in the fund and all cash received for the fund from any other source shall be used solely for the purposes specifically delineated by this act.

     b.    During any fiscal year beginning after June 30, 2001, of the total revenues dedicated to the program during any one fiscal year:

     (1) 25% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved to provide employment and training services for qualified displaced workers, and through fiscal year 2023, not less than 10% of the revenues deposited in that account shall be reserved to provide employment and training services to qualified displaced workers in the pursuit of industry-valued credentials under the pilot program established pursuant to P.L.2019, c.252 (C.34:15D-30 et al.); and during any fiscal year beginning after June 30, 2019, 0.5% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for an appropriated to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the Apprenticeship Start-Up Grant Program created pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2019, c.417 (C.34:15D-6.1);

     (2) 6% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved to provide employment and training services for qualified disadvantaged workers, and through fiscal year 2023, not less than 10% of the revenues deposited in that account shall be reserved to provide employment and training services to qualified disadvantaged workers in the pursuit of industry-valued credentials under the pilot program established pursuant to P.L.2019, c.252 (C.34:15D-30 et al.);

     (3) 37% prior to July 1, 2022, and 35% after June 30, 2022 shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for and appropriated to the Office of Customized Training;

     (4) 5% prior to July 1, 2022, and 7% after June 30, 2022 shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for the Youth Transitions to Work Partnership created pursuant to P.L.1993, c.268 (C.34:15E-1 et seq.);

     (5) 3% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for occupational safety and health training;

     (6) 5% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for and appropriated to the Talent Network Program established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2019, c.125 (C.34:15D-29);

     (7) 3% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for the New Jersey Innovation and Research Fellowship Program established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2015, c.235 (C.34:15D-26);

     (8) 10% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for administrative costs as defined in section 3 of P.L.1992, c.43 (C.34:15D-3);

     (9) 0.5% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for the State Employment and Training Commission to design criteria and conduct an annual evaluation of the program; and

     (10) 5% shall be deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund to be used , pursuant to the provisions of P.L., c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to pay the fee for an adult education assessment exam, and, at the discretion of the commissioner, for any of the purposes indicated in subsection a. of section 4 of P.L.1992, c.43 (C.34:15D-4).

     c.     Beginning January 1, 1995, through June 30, 2002, the balance in the fund as of the previous December 31, as determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, shall not exceed 1.5 times the amount of contributions deposited for the calendar year then ended.  If the balance exceeds this amount, the excess shall be deposited into the unemployment compensation fund within seven business days of the date that the determination is made.

     d.    Beginning July 1, 2002, and for any subsequent fiscal year, if the unexpended cash balance in any of the accounts indicated in subsection b. of this section, except for the account reserved for the Talent Network Program, less any amount awarded in grants but not yet disbursed from the account, is determined to exceed 20% of the amount of contributions collected for deposit in the account pursuant to this subsection during the fiscal year then ended, the excess shall be regarded as an unemployment compensation contribution and deposited into the unemployment compensation fund within seven business days of the date that the determination is made.  If the unexpended cash balance in the account reserved for the Talent Network Program, less any amount awarded in grants but not yet disbursed from the account, is determined to exceed 20% of the amount of contributions collected for deposit in the account pursuant to this subsection during the fiscal year then ended, the excess shall be deposited into the Workforce Development Partnership Fund account reserved for the Office of Customized Training.

     e.     $250,000 shall be allocated to the Apprentice Assistance and Support Services Pilot Program established pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2019, c.419 (C.34:15D-6.2) from the $29,690,000 which was appropriated pursuant to the annual appropriations act for State fiscal year 2019 from the Workforce Development Partnership Fund for the purpose of funding Work First New Jersey Work Activities and Work First New Jersey-Training Related Expenses, and, $1,100,000 shall be allocated to the pilot program in each of fiscal years 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 from the amounts appropriated pursuant to the annual appropriations act in those fiscal years from the Workforce Development Partnership Fund for the purpose of funding Work First New Jersey Work Activities and Work First New Jersey-Training Related Expenses.  Of the funds allocated to the pilot program pursuant to this subsection, 90% shall be dedicated to the Child Care Stipend program and 10% to transportation reimbursement.

     f.     Upon the effective date of P.L.2022, c.89 (C.34:15E-6 et al.) and notwithstanding the provisions of any law or regulation to the contrary, in addition to the amount deposited in an account of the Workforce Development Partnership Fund reserved for the Youth Transitions to Work Partnership pursuant to subsection b. of this section, $1,000,000 shall be allocated to the Youth Transitions to Work Partnership from the $22,500,000 which was appropriated pursuant to the annual appropriations act for State fiscal year 2022 from the Workforce Development Partnership Fund for the purpose of funding the NJ Apprenticeship Network, the Career Accelerator Internship Program, the Workforce Development Policy and Evaluation Lab, the NJ Career Network, and such other priority workforce initiatives recommended by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.

(cf: P.L.2022, c.89, s.2)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.