TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation that would help out-of-work former military personnel find jobs in the construction industry.
The law (A-2014) will require the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to establish a “Helmets to Hardhats” pilot program to help New Jersey military personnel and veterans acquire highway construction jobs. The Turnpike Authority will be required to guarantee that at least five percent and not more than 20 percent of the projected labor hours on any highway project are awarded to contractors who employ workers from an apprenticable trade participating in the pilot program, as certified by the New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council. The law also requires that these workers be paid the prevailing wage during their employment.
“Our veterans have endured their share of challenges; trying to find a job should not be one of them,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union), a sponsor of the bill. “We owe it to them to make the employment process as simple and straightforward as possible, so that they can comfortably transition to the next chapter in their lives.”
The pilot program will run for 18 months, during which the Turnpike Authority will evaluate: what impact, if any, the program had on providing former military personnel with jobs; and what impact the program had on the cost of highway construction projects.
The Turnpike Authority will be required to submit their findings in reports to both the governor and the Legislature within 24 months after the law’s effective date.
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