Employers who hire college students for internships would receive tax credits under legislation that's been approved by the State Assembly.  The measure is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin, Pamela Lampitt, Cleopatra Tucker and Daniel Benson.

"This is an innovative and creative job creation bill geared toward young workers struggling in this economy," said Coughlin.  "This bill is designed to encourage businesses to hire post-secondary students to learn firsthand about their chosen field of study and help them get their foot in the door to eventually secure full-time employment."

"No single piece of legislation will pull us out of this sluggish economy, but measures such as this will certainly help," said Lampitt.  "It is our obligation to provide New Jersey's students with the best possible educational experience and internships are one of the best ways to prepare our young people for the workforce and beyond."

Under the measure, qualified companies would be granted corporation business tax credits and gross income tax credits for wages paid to qualified interns.  The credits are allowed in amounts equal to 40 percent of compensation paid to qualified interns or $600 of that compensation.  Additional credits would be given to employers hiring three or more qualified interns.

"Creating jobs, no matter how many, must be our number one priority," said Tucker.  "In a market as tight as this one, young people need every advantage possible to help break into their chosen field."

"We need to create jobs in every shape and form and this is one way to create job opportunities for our younger residents while helping businesses," said Benson.  "It's a creative and unique approach that should prove beneficial to our state."

The program would be limited to the first 5,250 qualified interns or 700 taxpayers.  Employers would be required to pay interns no less than $8.00 an hour for at least 12 weeks of employment at 14 hours per week.

The bill now heads to the Senate.