Senator Menendez chose Union County College — known for its high-quality training programs — to discuss his plan to help close America’s skills gap.

Menendez Makes First Stop on Jersey Jobs Tour at Union County College

Unveils Legislation to Equip Unemployed Workers with New Skills

Estevan Mass shares how a skills training program helped get him off the unemployment line and into a good-paying job with New Jersey Precision Technologies.

Anyone who doubts whether job training programs make a difference should visit Union County College in Elizabeth, NJ.

Or speak with a business leader, like Bob Tarantino of New Jersey Precision Technologies.

Or talk to a retrained worker like Estevan Mass.

That’s how Senator Bob Menendez kicked off his Jersey Jobs Tour last week at UCC’s Center of Economic and Workforce Development.

Joining Bob on campus were employers, administrators, and students eager to discuss the need for greater collaboration on workforce preparedness. At Union County College, educators are partnering with employers to make sure that the skills students learn in the classroom match the needs of the private sector.

One of those partners is New Jersey Precision Technologies, Inc — the largest all-Mitsubishi wire electric discharge machining (EDM) shop in the Northeast.

The firm’s president, Bob Tarantino, joined the Senator on campus to share how partnering with UCC’s Metal Fabrication and Machinist Training programs has helped create a pipeline of talent for the company.

Mr. Tarantino is one of many business leaders across America calling for more funding for industry-driven training programs like those at UCC.

With technology unleashing change in nearly every industry, the skills gap transcends every sector of our economy.

According to recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, 45 percent of small businesses report difficulty finding qualified workers.

Nationwide, 7.5 million unemployed workers are actively looking for jobs. Meanwhile, businesses have nearly 5.5 million jobs unfilled and available today.

Enter the Better Education and Skills Training (BEST) for America’s Workforce Act — new legislation introduced by Senator Bob Menendez that creates a billion-dollar competitive tax credit for companies and colleges that team up to train unemployed workers.

“We have a choice. We can under-invest in our workforce to our own peril. Or we can follow the lead of colleges like UCC and create industry-driven training that prepares workers to compete.” — Senator Bob Menendez

The idea is simple.

Under the BEST in America’s Workforce Act, partnerships with the greatest potential to put unemployed Americans back to work would receive funding.

And beyond expanding investments in market-driven training programs, the Senator’s legislation also rewards businesses that train and hire Americans struggling with long-term unemployment with a tax-credit of up to $4,000.

Bob’s visit to Union County College was the first of many stops to come on his 21-county Jersey Jobs Tour.

Up next:

Bob heads to Kearney Point — a new, innovative and collaborative office space in Hudson County that’s designed to meet the needs of businesses in the 21st century.

Jersey Jobs Tour

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez is embarking on a Jersey Jobs Tour — visiting each of our 21 counties to meet with business owners, entrepreneurs & innovators, workers, students & local leaders and discuss how to create greater economic opportunity and prosperity for the people of NJ.

Senator Bob Menendez

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Proudly serving the State of New Jersey in the United States Senate.

Jersey Jobs Tour

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez is embarking on a Jersey Jobs Tour — visiting each of our 21 counties to meet with business owners, entrepreneurs & innovators, workers, students & local leaders and discuss how to create greater economic opportunity and prosperity for the people of NJ.

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