If New Jersey businesses worked directly with New Jersey colleges to train the employees of the future, companies would know they’re going to get trained workers and students would know they’ve got a better chance to land a job after they graduate. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has just introduced a bill to create such a program.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) at the Capitol (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Better Education and Skills Training, or BEST, for America’s Workforce Act would establish a competitive tax-credit program to encourage job training partnerships between local colleges and local businesses and tax credits for businesses that train long-term unemployed workers.

“I absolutely agree with President Obama that we must do all we can to make sure that middle class Americans have the training and skills they need to compete and win in a global economy,” says Menendez. “That’s why I introduced this bill which will link our community colleges with local businesses so that workers can move right from education to employment.”

Earlier this week, Obama announced a new jobs plan that includes investing in community colleges and getting workers ready for a competitive marketplace.

Part of the proposal would provide $1 billion in funding. The application is competitive so priority will be given to those partnerships that demonstrate:

• The greatest probability of those who complete the program securing employment;

• The greatest potential for providing workers who complete the program with skills that can provide long-term job and income security;

• The strongest market demand for the type of training offered;

• The greatest probability that the program would create a net increase in job training opportunities;

• A strong need in the community for skills training;

• The ability to allow nontraditional learners to complete the training;

• The ability and capacity to implement the program in a reasonable period of time