Eight county colleges in New Jersey have launched an advanced manufacturing training program that will allow 1,600 participants to gain work experience while earning college credit. The four-year Career Advance USA project has received a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Scaling Apprenticeship program, which seeks to accelerate the expansion of apprenticeships in new industry sectors.

Students have the option of attending a boot camp to receive training in the basics of machine learning or participating in on-the-job training at a company involved in the project. The target audience for the program are the unemployed, underemployed, transitioning military, veterans, women, and people of color.

The Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) will evaluate the project by conducting surveys with staff at the colleges, participating employers, and student trainees. EERC’s final report will include recommendations that can guide the replication and scaling of the apprenticeship program.