NJDOL’s Return and Earn Program Expands to Larger Businesses 

The Murphy Administration’s Return and Earn program, administered by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL), has been expanded to provide a $500 incentive to unemployed workers reentering the workforce and receiving job training. The program is eligible for workers starting new roles with businesses with up to 500 full-time employees.  

This is an increase from the previous limit of 100 employees when the program was first launched in September 2021. The program utilizes New Jersey’s existing On-the-Job Training program to provide wage reimbursement to employers that hire workers that were dislocated and do not have the proper skills for their new job. 

“The expansion of the Return and Earn program ensures we’re reaching every corner of the workforce, providing workers with training for a rewarding career and employers with the resources to grow and thrive,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “This investment further demonstrates the Murphy Administration’s unwavering dedication to building a stronger and fairer economy.” 

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Participating employers get 50% of the wages of normal working hours of Return and Earn employees while the business is providing training, with a cap of six months. Employers are only eligible for up to $20,000 for each Return and Earn employee while they are limited to a cap of $200,000 for all Return and Earn employees, companywide. 

Eligibility requirements:

  • Open to private and not-for-profit employers
  • Companies can have up to 500 full-time employees
  • Job candidates must be New Jersey residents
  • Open positions must be fulltime (minimum of 32 hours weekly)
  • Open positions must pay a minimum of $16 per hour
  • Open positions cannot be part time, seasonal, temporary, commission-based, or 1099-based.

Eligible applicants can receive supportive services such as childcare and transportation reimbursement.

Employers interested in the program must get their training program approved by NJDOL to receive reimbursement. 

The NJDOL, New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), and other state agencies provide targeted outreach to employers in industries hardest hit by COVID-19, as well as employers in traditionally underserved areas or industries. Priority in recruitment and job matching is given to disadvantaged populations such as veterans, returning citizens, and under-employed individuals.  

For employers to express interest in and/or submit an application for the Return and Earn program, click here

For more information about the program, in general, click here