Legislation that’s designed to encourage Jersey college graduates to enter fields facing labor shortages has been approved by a State Senate Committee.

Senator Joe Vitale’s measure would create the Workforce Shortage Loan Redemption Program – providing student loan redemptions of up to 75 percent, in return for four years of service in a field with qualifying labor shortages.  

“The ‘Workforce Shortage Loan Redemption Program’ would help to fill vacancies in professions with large workforce shortages by targeting highly-qualified recent graduates and matching them with careers that are in high demand,” says Vitale, “not only would this program benefit New Jersey’s economy by connecting people with jobs, but it would also encourage New Jersey’s best and brightest to stay in state after they graduate.”

Jersey’s Higher Education Assistance Authority would choose qualified participants for the program who have associate, bachelors or advanced degrees appropriately related to a field that there is a labor shortage in the state and based on the applicants academic accomplishments and financial need.

Only state residents who have graduated from a state public institution of higher learning and have agreed to perform the required service obligation would be eligible to participate.

The bill was approved by the Senate Higher Education Committee, and now heads to the full Upper House for consideration.