New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

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State of New Jersey
Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Seal of New Jersey.svg
Agency overview
Jurisdiction New Jersey
Headquarters 1 John Fitch Plaza
Trenton, NJ 08625
Agency executive Harold J. Wirths, Commissioner
Website http://lwd.state.nj.us/labor/index.html

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is a governmental agency of the U.S. state of New Jersey.

Initially constituted in the late-1940s, pursuant to P.L. 1948, c.446, as the Department of Labor and Industry, the department is one of 16 executive branch departments in New Jersey state government. Governor Jim McGreevey's enactment of P.L. 2004, c.39 in June 2004 changed the name of the department from the New Jersey "Department of Labor" to the New Jersey "Department of Labor and Workforce Development." In addition to the name change, the statutory revisions consolidated and reorganized the state's workforce system.[1]

Department Leadership[edit]

Commissioner Harold J. Wirths heads the department. Prior to his nomination by Governor Chris Christie in January 2010, Mr. Wirths owned and operated two furniture stores for nearly 20 years.[2] He was also an elected member of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.[3]

The Deputy Commissioner is Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D. Prior to joining the department, Dr. Fichtner was director of Research and Evaluation at Rutgers University's Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. In that role, Dr. Fichtner conducted extensive research on the workforce and skill needs of key industries, implemented a variety of workforce and education initiatives, and conducted evaluations of education and training programs. He has also worked in the field of economic development in Jersey City, New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia.[4]

The Chief of Staff is Frederick J. Zavaglia. Prior to joining the department in May 2011, Mr. Zavaglia worked in finance and business development for American Water Works Company, Inc. He also spent 15 years on Wall Street with several firms, serving as a municipal finance advisor and investment banker. Prior to his Wall Street career, Mr. Zavaglia worked in local government, serving as both the deputy county administrator and the county administrator for the County of Atlantic in Southern New Jersey.[5]

Major Program Areas and Selected Accomplishments[edit]

The Department administers several of the most important programs in State government that affect the daily lives of those in the workforce, such as the workers' compensation courts, the unemployment insurance program, the temporary disability insurance program, the family leave insurance program, wage and hour enforcement, and various One-Stop Career Centers.

The Department houses the Employee Residency Review Committee, as established by the New Jersey First Act (N.J.S.A. 52:14-7; P.L. 2011, c.70). Signed into law by Governor Chris Christie and effective September 1, 2011, the New Jersey First Act contains new residency requirements for most public officers and employees. The New Jersey First Act states in pertinent part that a person may apply to the committee for an exemption from the residency requirement based on certain criteria.[6][7]

To improve the skills of the state's workforce, the Department awards grants to businesses to help train their employees. Literacy skills training grants are designed to improve workers' language proficiency, reading comprehension, communication, mathematical skill, and computer literacy skills. Customized Training grants are awarded to companies to help improve workers' skills in specific areas. Grants are awarded monthly on a competitive basis and can be used for either classroom or on-the-job training.[8]

On November 30, 2011, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who was serving as Acting Governor at the time, formally launched the Jobs4Jersey.com website at the Trenton One-Stop Career Center. Administered by the Department, the free website guides both job seekers and employers "through the maze of state and federal services and offers a unique tool that allows visitors to go online and quickly upload or create a customized résumé." The website, developed using artificial intelligence software from Burning Glass Technologies, is designed to connect job seekers and employers looking for workers.[9]

References[edit]

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