New Jersey Legislation Would Establish a Cannabis Certified Worker Grant Program

Legislation filed this week in the New Jersey Legislature would establish a Cannabis Certified Worker Grant Program and Social Equity Certified Worker Hiring Grant Program.

(Photo credit: Bill Barlow/for WHYY).

Filed on Monday by State Representatives Anthony Verrelli and Angela Mcknight, Assembly Bill 5691 has been referred to the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee.

“There is established in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development the Cannabis Certified Worker Grant Program, which shall provide grants for the development and administration of workforce development programs for workers in the cannabis industry”, states the bill’s official text. ” Grant length is one year but may also extend beyond one year in duration.  The program shall be administered by the Office of Apprenticeship in the department.”

The measure states that any organizational sponsor of a workforce development program is eligible to receive the grant, “including businesses; business organizations and associations; labor organizations; joint labor-management partnerships; local education agencies; public vocational schools; two-year and four-year colleges; local workforce development boards; workforce training providers; economic development organizations; and community- based and other non-profit organizations.”

An organizational sponsor “shall have some substantial connection or experience in the cannabis industry, or that organizational sponsor shall be partnered with a cannabis business.”

To apply for the grant, an organization would be required to submit an application to the Office of Apprenticeship. The department would rank eligible applicants for grants based upon:

     (1) each applicant’s potential to:

     (a) reach a broad audience through its recruitment and outreach efforts;

     (b) significantly increase enrollment and completion of the workforce development program; and

     (c) fill existing needs for skilled workers in the market; and

     (2) the applicant’s partnership with a business for which workforce development programs targeted at training and providing skilled workers who have the ability to perform jobs in that industry have demonstrated positive outcomes.

The measure also states that “There is established in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development the Social Equity Certified Worker Hiring Grant Program, which shall provide grants to fund the hiring of cannabis workers who have participated in the Cannabis Certified Worker Grant Program by microbusinesses as defined by section 3 of P.L.2021, c.16 (C.24:6I-33). “

Each grant “shall be awarded to a microbusiness selected from the cannabis industry”.

The proposal would allocate $400,000 to the Cannabis Certified Worker Grant Program and $400,000 to the Social Equity Certified Worker Hiring Grant Program.

The full text of the proposed law can be found by clicking here.

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