The state is set to dole out $11 million in funds to New Jersey businesses during Fiscal Year 2017 to help provide training that will improve workers' skills.

Funds provided through the Skills Partnership Grant program will be matched by employers making an investment in skills training and upgrades in such fields as advanced manufacturing, health care and bio/pharma sciences, to name a few. The state has already awarded $700,000 in customized training grants to Garden State businesses, according to the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths says the investment targets key industries, "where we know over two-thirds of the New Jersey residents and two-thirds of the paychecks come from."

In addition, training grants will also be made available for employees in construction, financial services, retail, hospitality and tourism, technology and transportation, logistics and distribution.

"It's just not state dollars going to training these folks, it's also the private sector that has a match in the game," Wirths said.

Individuals companies with as few as 10 employees are eligible for training grants that they will match. Wirths calls the program one of the most important things the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development does, and said "it has been a very successful program."

Individual businesses can apply for up to $50,000 in grant funds, while industry-specific consortiums can apply for up to $250,000, according to the state.

Wirths said he has toured many of the companies that are taking advantage of the program.

"You see the results and you see the people that are retaining their jobs and new folks getting hired," he said. "So it is a very successful program, and I think that it is successful because it is a partnership with the private sector, and the private sector has as much money in it as the taxpayers, so I think that's why it's such a great and successful program."

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