An Act concerning under-represented participants in apprenticeships and supplementing P.L.1992, c.43 (C.34:15D-1 et seq.).
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
C.34:15D-5.1 Findings, declarations relative to under-represented participants in apprenticeships.
1. The Legislature finds and declares that women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are under-represented in the skilled trades and apprenticeship programs, despite the fact that these groups represent a large and growing portion of the workforce. As apprenticeship programs often lead to high paying jobs in growing industries, women, minorities, and persons with disabilities should be provided better access and support in benefitting from them.
Although apprenticeships can benefit these groups, sometimes women, minorities, and persons with disabilities begin the programs, but leave before completion. One reason for this may be that the groups are under-represented. When they encounter harassment and discrimination or other difficulties, they may not have a trusted support network on which they can depend.
For example, while all participants in federally-registered apprenticeship programs are required to receive a mentor, it is unlikely that the mentor would come from the same under-represented group as the participant. Participants who are not from under-represented groups would not face this dilemma.
It is therefore an appropriate public purpose to begin, in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, a peer-to-peer mentoring program for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
C.34:15D-5.2 Establishment of peer-to-peer Statewide apprenticeship mentoring program for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
2. a. The Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, in consultation with the Commissioner of Education and the Chief Diversity Officer of New Jersey, shall establish a peer-to-peer Statewide apprenticeship mentoring program for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities. The purpose of the mentoring program is to provide mentoring and support services to women, minorities, and persons with disabilities throughout the State, as well as to establish a network of peers involved in apprenticeship groups among those groups.
b. The Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development shall analyze which groups of people are under-represented in industries throughout the State, and then form employee resource groups for apprentices involved in those industries.
3. This act shall take effect on the 30th day next following enactment.
Approved July 16, 2020.