Five months ago the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development awarded $2.8 million in Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) grants to multiple companies in several industries.

The Department is now handing out an additional $3 million in GAINS grant money, and more funding for apprenticeship programs.

New Jersey has been awarded $1.7 million over the next three years through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship State Expansion grant program to expand existing, successful apprenticeship programs in several fields including information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care.

According to state Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo, the GAINS grant money will be used in different fields.

“We’re been dealing with apprenticeship programs at Princeton Plasma Physics lab, in roofing, culinary, transportation logistics and distribution, paramedics, human resources," he said. “There isn’t any industry or any job that can’t have an apprenticeship attached to it.”

Angelo said other apprenticeship programs include automotive technician of course, IT specialists, mechanical engineering and computer system analyst.

"We have an apprenticeship for anybody who is ready, willing and able in New Jersey," he said.

Information about apprenticeships can be found at nj.gov/labor or by emailing apprenticeships@dol.nj.gov.

The first step is for people to fill out an apprentice intake form.

“Then we’ll work with them based on their skill sets or experience or what their desire to learn is, and then connect them with one of our apprentice grantees or through their local county Workforce Development Board.”

Angelo said many people may assume an apprenticeship program only happens after high school or college but that is not the case.

“Apprenticeship is a model for restructuring your workforce, for retraining your workforce, for developing workforce at any age and any skill level," he said.

He said New Jersey is in what could be described as an almost-full-employment economy.

“So, if there’s somebody out there who is a hard worker, who can show up on time, who has a good work ethic, I think there’s plenty of employers in the state who would be willing to take a shot on somebody if they wanted to change careers.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com