Greenstein reintroduces back-to-work proposal

TRENTON – Sen. Linda R. Greenstein, (D-14), Plainsboro, said today she has re-introduced legislation that would allow New Jersey’s unemployed to receive on-the-job training to learn new skills and find employment. The “Back to Work NJ Program Act” would pair unemployed workers with New Jersey businesses in an eight-week training program.

“Working families and businesses are looking for innovative ideas to jumpstart our economy,” Greenstein said in a release. “When job training can be combined with actual on-the-job experience, both employers and potential employees can win.”

“Back to Work NJ” would allow companies looking to hire new employees to take on an unemployed state resident for up to six weeks of on-the-job training. During that time, the individual would be able to work up to 24 hours per week while continuing to receive unemployment compensation, as well as be eligible for up to a $100 stipend to help defray the costs of transportation or child care. This provides employers with the opportunity to train and appraise candidates at no cost, while providing job training, valuable skills and references to the job seeker.

Gov. Christie vetoed an earlier version last winter.

But Greenstein believes that President Obama’s praise of the Georgia program, which has seen 16,500 participating employers and about 63 percent of unemployed participants finding jobs within 90 days, will help turn the tide this time.

However, when Christie vetoed the bill in February, he said in his veto message that it was part of a package of well-intentioned but flawed bills.

“By passing a package of bills that will cost the State over $600 million in Fiscal Year 2012 by conservative estimates and billions over the next few years without identifying any corresponding reductions in the State’s budget, the Legislature has acted prematurely, irresponsibly and in a pattern consistent with the reckless conduct of the past which got us in the current fiscal mess,” Christie said in vetoing the bill.

Greenstein reintroduces back-to-work proposal