HELPFUL TIPS: Federal Grant Money Available

by John Phelps

In response to the volatile economic conditions that are currently so pervasive throughout the country, and especially the negative impact that these conditions are having on the unemployment situation, the U.S. federal government has set up a $1+ billion fund.

Some $32,000,000 from the fund has been allocated to the state of New Jersey. In turn, these funds trickle down to the 21 New Jersey counties. In Somerset County, the Department of Human Services, through the Greater Raritan Workforce Investment Board, has announced the existence of this fund. It is being used for an OJT (on-the-job training program thruough Somerset/Hunterdon Counties). A one-page fact sheet has been produced and placed into circulation.

I personally found the fact sheet to breed more questions then it answered, so I sought out NJDOL individuals at the PSGCNJ-sponsored job fair held March 10, 2011. In doing so, I managed to obtain clarification that actually made sense.

Here’s how it works:

  • . If a company within any of the counties in the State of New Jersey hires a dislocated (unemployed/underemployed) worker for a full-time job before June 2011, that company can apply for up to $5,000 reimbursement.
  • The $5,000 can be applied to offset the costs associated with upgrading the skills of the newly hired employee, or the $5,000 can be applied against the newly hired employee’s wages.
  • After June 2011, the $5,000 cap decreases to $4,000 for companies hiring new employees.

The One-Stop Career Center and Workforce Investment Board (WIB) can refer qualified unemployed candidates to companies searching for new hires, based upon that company’s hiring specifications. If the hiring company is located outside of Somerset County, say Morris County, then that hiring company is still eligible to receive the reimbursement.

When I asked, I was told that it was not a requirement for the hiring company’s books to be audited or its hiring/operating policies to be examined in order for the company to receive the reimbursement. Interested candidates should go to the Reception desk at the Somerville One-Stop and ask for a referral to the Somerset OJT program and a staff member will give them a referral form to bring to Chris Peake at 27 Warren St., Somerville.

The hiring company can apply for the reimbursement by contacting:

  • Mr. Christopher Peake
  • WIB Business Development Coordinator
  • Greater Raritan Workforce Investment Board
  • 27 Warren Street
  • Somerville, NJ 08876-1262
  • Telephone: 908.704.6301 ext. 6231
  • E-mail: peake@co.somerset.nj.us

This information should be of interest and value to all PSGCNJ members, because if a candidate introduces the topic correctly during the interview process, he or she might gain some advantage in the hiring decision.

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