Small and medium sized businesses across New Jersey are taking advantage of a program to strengthen the skill-sets of their workers and improve productivity.

Catherine Starghill, the vice president of strategy and partnerships for the New Jersey Council of County Colleges and executive director of the New Jersey Community College Consortium of Workforce and Economic Development, said the Workplace Literacy and Basic Skill Training Program offers a variety of options.

“There are communication courses, verbal and written, basic mathematics and measurements, other types of technology courses, team building, team leadership, time management,” she said.

Other courses include enhanced business skills training, professionalism, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Several computer technology courses are also available.

“Those courses really help an employer upskill their workforce to help with the efficiency and effectiveness of the business that they are engaging in,” she said.

co-workers in office
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Improve worker skill-sets

Courses are usually between 8 and 40 hours long and they are available at community colleges across the Garden State or at workplaces.

Starghill said that training new employees can be expensive and time-consuming, “so what better solution than to upskill the existing employees of a business.”

She said the goal of the program is “to help employers develop the most efficient workforce they can possibly have.”

She pointed out the program has trained about 200,000 workers for more than 12,000 employers.

It's already paid for

The program, which is free because it’s paid for by unemployment insurance taxes collected from businesses, is a partnership of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

More information is available at

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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