SENATE, No. 3349

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 3, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  ROBERT W. SINGER

District 30 (Monmouth and Ocean)

Senator  ANDREW ZWICKER

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes New Jersey Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing the New Jersey Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship and supplementing chapter 6 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.  a.  The Secretary of Higher Education shall establish the New Jersey Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship.  The purpose of the scholarship shall be to provide opportunities to students pursuing professional certificates, industry-recognized credentials, diplomas, or degrees from eligible programs at a county college or county vocational school in the State.

     b.  The Secretary of Higher Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, the New Jersey Community College Consortium, and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, shall develop a list of eligible programs at county colleges and county vocational schools.  Eligible programs shall be programs that prepare students to enter the workforce and meet the specific labor needs of the State as identified in the Labor Demand Occupation List produced by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  Eligible programs shall additionally include, but need not be limited to, necessary certificates, credentials, diplomas, licenses or degrees for high demand positions in: advanced manufacturing; architecture and construction; education; health care and social services; human resources; law and public safety; life sciences; and transportation, logistics, and distribution.

     c.  The scholarship shall be equal to the cost of tuition, fees, expenses for required course-related materials, and fees for professional licenses after applying all other federal or State scholarships or grants, and shall not exceed $5,000 each year. A student shall be eligible to receive the scholarship for up to three years if the student is enrolled in an associate degree program, and up to two years if the student is enrolled in any other eligible program.  A student enrolled in a degree-seeking program shall maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or better on a 4.0 grading scale.

     d.  In order to be eligible for a scholarship, a student shall:

     (1)  be a resident of the State of New Jersey;

     (2)  be enrolled in an eligible program as determined by the secretary pursuant to subsection b. of this section; and

     (3)  meet one of the following criteria:

     (a)  be employed; or

     (b)  take a financial literacy course offered by the institution at which the student is enrolled.

     e.  Scholarships shall be awarded on an annual basis and subject to the limit of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to effectuate the purposes of this section.  Priority shall be given to students seeking a degree, diploma, professional certificate, or industry-recognized credential in an industry area of high need as determined by the secretary pursuant to subsection b. of this section.  A minimum of five percent of scholarship awards shall be allocated towards dual-enrollment students eligible to receive the scholarship.

     f.  The secretary shall submit an annual report by December 31 of each year to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), concerning:

     (1)  the total number of students receiving scholarships and the number of students receiving scholarships at each institution;

     (2)  the average scholarship amount received;

     (3)  the total amount of scholarships received by students at each institution;

     (4)  a list of credential categories completed by scholarship students and the number of credentials earned in each category;

     (5)  the average scholarship amount received by students for each credential category; and

     (6)  job placement rates for scholarships students, disaggregated by credential category and institution.

     g.  The secretary may solicit and accept any grants, gifts, donations, or other funds from public or private sources for the purpose of supporting the New Jersey Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship, except that the secretary may not accept any grants, gifts, donations, or other funds that are subject to conditions that are inconsistent with any other law of this State.

 

     2.  This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply to the first full academic year following the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes the New Jersey Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship, which will provide opportunities to students pursuing professional certificates, industry-recognized credentials, diplomas, or degrees from eligible programs at a county college or county vocational school in the State.

     Under the bill, the Secretary of Higher Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, the New Jersey Community College Consortium, and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, is required to develop a list of eligible programs at county colleges and county vocational schools. Eligible programs are to be programs that prepare students to enter the workforce and meet the specific labor needs of the State as identified in the Labor Demand Occupation List produced by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Eligible programs are  additionally to include, but need not be limited to, necessary certificates, credentials, diplomas, licenses or degrees for high demand positions in: advanced manufacturing; architecture and construction; education; health care and social services; human resources; law and public safety; life sciences; and transportation, logistics, and distribution.

     The scholarship amount is equal to the cost of tuition, fees, expenses for required course-related materials, and fees for professional licenses after applying all other federal or State scholarships or grants, and is not to exceed $5,000 each year. A student is eligible to receive the scholarship for up to three years if the student is enrolled in an associate degree program, and up to two years if the student is enrolled in any other eligible program. A student enrolled in a degree-seeking program shall maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or better on a 4.0 grading scale.

     Scholarships are to be awarded on an annual basis and subject to the limit of funds appropriated or otherwise made available for the scholarship. Priority is to be given to students seeking a degree, diploma, professional certificate, or industry-recognized credential in an industry area of high need. A minimum of five percent of scholarship awards are to be allocated towards dual-enrollment students eligible to receive the scholarship.