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Governor Announces Return and Earn Job Incentive Program

Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) will begin implementation of the Return and Earn program. This new initiative will provide a $500 incentive for unemployed workers reentering the workforce and receiving job training from businesses with 100 or fewer employees.

Facilitated by NJDOL’s Business Support Unit, Return and Earn will take advantage of New Jersey’s existing On-the-Job Training infrastructure to provide wage reimbursement support to New Jersey employers that hire eligible applicants with identifiable skills gaps. Employers will then be reimbursed for 50 percent of the wages paid for regular hours worked during the contracted employer-provided training period.

Employers can receive the wage subsidy for up to six months, up to the cap of $10,000 per Return and Earn employee and are limited to a total Return and Earn subsidy across all employees of $40,000.

Many workers will be eligible for supportive services like childcare and transportation reimbursement, which have been barriers for many re-entering the workforce.

NJDOL is currently working on the execution of this program, including developing a streamlined online application process. The general process and eligibility criteria will be issued by NJDOL in the coming days. Employers can visit to express interest in this program and receive application information as it becomes available.

New Jersey job seekers can visit for help finding gainful employment opportunities. NJDOL offers a wide variety of programs including job search help, résumé and interview guidance, networking advice, education and training, one-on-one support, and services tailored specifically to veterans, mature workers, youth workers, individuals in recovery, justice-involved individuals, and people with disabilities. These services are available telephonically, online, and via smartphone.

Also available to all New Jersey residents are free online training courses through Metrix Learning. Courses are offered in a variety of high-demand industry sectors, including information technology, business analysis, customer service, project management, and digital literacy.

Courses range from basic work readiness for new workers to tailored training for high-level professionals and management, with topics such as customer service, Microsoft Office, Adobe, Quick Books, analytical skills, data management/reporting, time management, leadership skills, health and safety, and first aid, among many others.