Sweeney Puts Focus On Modernizing Manufacturing, Expanding Vocational Education
TRENTON – March 04, 2018: Senate President Steve Sweeney gave the keynote address at the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program’s annual “State of the State of New Jersey Manufacturing” conference in Trenton today, where he emphasized the importance of modernizing and expanding the state’s manufacturing sector. Senator Sweeney also stressed the role of vocational education to provide job skills for a rapidly-evolving economy.
“Manufacturing in New Jersey has changed, but it is no less important,” said Senator Sweeney. “It has become highly specialized and technical and it’s not necessarily located just in the cities. We need to do a better job of getting incentives to smaller companies and we need to rethink policies that focus solely on the number of jobs created, rather than the quality of the jobs and the overall impact on our economy.”
Approximately 200 manufacturers participated in the conference.
Senator Sweeney established a bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus to identify ways to support the modernization and expansion of manufacturing as well as the training and education of vocational skills for students and workers in New Jersey.
Senator Sweeney noted that the McKinsey & Company report, “Reseeding the Garden State’s Economic Growth: A Vision for New Jersey,” specifically cited the shortage of middle-skilled workers with technical training as one of the main barriers to the state’s economic growth.
Senator Sweeney is sponsoring the Career and Technical Education and Security Bond Act (S-2293) to seek voter approval for $500 million in support of expanding vocational education, with $450 million for grants to county vocational school districts and $50 million for county college career and technical education grants. The bill was amended to provide an additional $250 million for school security.
“One of my top priorities this year is passage of a bond issue that would expand the number of seats in our vo-tech high schools and county colleges,” said Senator Sweeney. “We are going to give priority to county high schools and colleges that work together on joint programs and provide a seamless transition from secondary to higher education.”
“We have an ally and an advocate for manufacturing and job training in Senator Sweeney,” said John Kennedy, CEO of NJ Manufacturing Extension Program. “I have been working with the Manufacturing Caucus so that we can identify our priorities and have them advanced in the Legislature.”
NJMEP is a private, not–for-profit organization that improves the profitability and competitiveness of New Jersey’s manufacturers. Backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NJMEP enables organizations to enhance their productivity and efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve employee performance.