Governor Phil Murphy, the New Jersey CEO Council, and Social Finance launched the New Jersey Pay It Forward Program – a new and innovative workforce development program that furthers the Governor’s ongoing commitment to helping residents obtain quality postsecondary education and training to advance their careers, as outlined in the New Jersey Higher Education State Plan and Jobs NJ.
The Pay It Forward Program, which is the first of its kind in the nation, will help build a robust and talented workforce while supporting economic growth in the state. Participants in the program will receive zero-interest, no-fee loans at no upfront cost, as well as non-repayable living stipends and wraparound supports, to allow them to affordably prepare for good-paying, career-track jobs in the health care, information technology (IT), and clean energy sectors.
After a thorough due diligence process, the New Jersey Pay It Forward Program selected training providers with high-quality, industry-recognized training programs and a track record of strong employment outcomes, employer relationships, and experience serving learners from diverse backgrounds.
The loans will enable participants to enroll in credential, certificate, and degree programs at one of three inaugural training providers: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Welding at Camden County College, Registered Nursing at Hudson County Community College, and Cybersecurity at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Loan terms are designed to be more borrower-friendly than even federal student loans. Camden County College’s classes take place at Camden County Technical School’s Sicklerville Campus or Pennsauken Campus. Both programs, which meet in-person on weekday evenings, are nine-month, part-time courses with strong completion and job placement outcomes.
“Camden County College is proud to join with the Murphy Administration, and the other institutions in support of the Pay it Forward Program, to offer specialized training that will lead to gainful employment for the communities we serve,” said Dr. Lovell Pugh-Bassett, President of Camden County College. “Our Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning as well as our Welding courses at CCC are taught by highly qualified instructors and can be completed in as few as nine months. The Pay it Forward program is consistent with our commitment to providing affordable pathways for student success.”
All loan payments will be recycled back into the fund to ‘pay it forward’ for subsequent students’ training costs. The program aims to help participants find jobs while also helping employers fill in-demand positions in high-growth sectors to promote economic growth in New Jersey.
“With today’s launch of Pay It Forward, New Jersey is the first state in the nation to model this innovative approach that will help residents obtain family-sustaining jobs and then pay their success forward by supporting future cohorts of students,” said Governor Murphy. “This initiative is another way in which my Administration is working to give more residents access to high-quality education and training that will lead to good-paying jobs and successful careers. Investing in our residents will not only give them the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families, but will also help meet employers’ needs and promote economic development throughout the state.”
Participants who find jobs earning above a specific income threshold will repay the cost of their tuition over time. Any loan balance remaining after five years will be forgiven for borrowers in good standing. To help them succeed throughout the program, participants will also receive living stipends and free wraparound supports, including access to an emergency aid fund and mental health counseling services. Under the program, students will not have to repay the living stipends or wraparound supports. The loans are intended to be a last-dollar option, allowing students to maximize the free resources available to them to minimize the amount they need to repay.
Members of the New Jersey CEO Council, a coalition of CEOs from some of the state’s largest and most widely recognized companies, provided corporate contributions of approximately $5 million to the Pay It Forward Program. The State added to this commitment with appropriations of $5 million in Fiscal Year 2022 and $2.5 million in Fiscal Year 2023. The CEO Council is made up of the CEOs of BD, Campbell Soup Company, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Prudential Financial, PSEG, RWJBarnabas Health, and Verizon.
For more information on the New Jersey Pay It Forward Program, please visit: njpayitforward.org