NJDOL Makes Additional $2.2M CARE Grants Available

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has chosen to expand its Cultivating Access, Rights, and Equity (CARE) program through the release of $2.2 million in additional funding. The program, first launched in March 2022, seeks to increase equitable access to New Jersey’s worker benefits and protections, such as paid leave and unemployment insurance, through outreach, education, and technical assistance.

This year, the program has expanded its efforts, adding workers’ rights under the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law, as well as wage theft, misclassification, and the newly enacted Temporary Workers’ Bill of Rights. 

“I’m excited to announce we’re expanding the CARE grant to cover more work rights,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Partnering with community organizations has proven to be a valuable resource for reaching focused worker populations who many not know, understand, or utilize all their work rights. This grant helps us reach directly into communities to increase education, awareness, and access.”

In its first year, CARE grantees directly reached out to more than 46,000 workers through community events, one-on-one outreach, counseling, and workshops, as well as many more through social media and hyper-local advertising.

The CARE program continues to seek partners able to provide community-centered, culturally relevant, and language-specific programming to inform workers about their work rights, and employers about their obligations and compliance. 

The CARE program aims to build the capacity of preexisting community organizations and agencies to support workers and employers, and to enhance collaboration between NJDOL and CARE partners.

“The CARE Grant has allowed us to seamlessly incorporate Unemployment Insurance and Earned Sick Leave assistance and education into our existing community engagement programs, including outreach visits and drop-in hours, reaching hundreds of community members.” Ally Blumenfeld and Emily Dalton, Hoboken Public Library. 

Particular focus populations for the program include low-wage workers, workers of color, immigrants, women, refugees, survivors of domestic/sexual violence, young workers, small businesses, immigrant-owned businesses, and other employers who many benefit from the resources and assistance provided by the CARE program. 

Some of the work rights supported by the CARE include:

  • Paid family and medical leave benefits, also known as New Jersey Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance, which are available to eligible employees who need to care for themselves or a loved one during pregnancy and childbirth recovery, to bond with a new child, or to cope with domestic or sexual violence.
  • The NJ Earned Sick Leave Law covers nearly all workers and requires employers of all sizes to provide up to 40 hours per year of paid sick time so employees can care for themselves and loved ones, cope with domestic or sexual violence, or attend a meeting at their child’s school.
  • The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law provides additional labor protections related to minimum wage and overtime, wage theft and payment, employee misclassification, and the provisions under the Temporary Workers Bill of Rights.
  • Unemployment Insurance provides partial wage replacement to people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

CARE grant applicants must demonstrate their role as a trusted resource within their focus communities, as well astheir capacity, experience, and history of success providing outreach, education, technical assistance and/or support. Public and private nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, state-recognized tribal governments with 501(c)(3) status, and state and local government entities may paply. Applications can submit proposals as individual organizations or as a collaborative with a lead agency.

CARE grant awards generally range between $50,000 and $200,000, but NJDOL may consider applications above or below said range when appropriate justification is provided.

Key dates:  

April 1 by 11:59 pm: Application Interest Form

April 3 by 11:59 pm: Applications due.  

View complete details and the full Notice of Grant Opportunity here