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Governor Murphy Announces Return and Earn Incentive Program

Sep 28, 2021

NJDOL to provide $500 to new hires, cover 50% of wages during training as the economy recovers from Covid-19 pandemic

Governor Phil Murphy recently announced that the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) will begin implementation of the Return and Earn program. This new initiative will provide a $500 incentive for unemployed workers reentering the workforce and receiving job training from businesses with 100 or fewer employees.

Facilitated by NJDOL’s Business Support Unit, Return and Earn will take advantage of New Jersey’s existing On-the-Job Training infrastructure to provide wage reimbursement support to New Jersey employers that hire eligible applicants with identifiable skills gaps. Employers will then be reimbursed for 50% of the wages paid for regular hours worked during the contracted employer-provided training period.

Employers can receive the wage subsidy for up to 6 months, up to the cap of $10,000 per Return and Earn employee, and are limited to a total Return and Earn subsidy across all employees of $40,000.

NJDOL is currently working on the execution of this program, including developing a streamlined online application process. The general process and eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • NJDOL will work with employers to identify prospective candidates for available positions.
  • The employer will provide substantive On-the-Job Training at their location or, depending on circumstances, utilize approved virtual training, that result in skill badges or industry-recognized credentials.
  • Eligible applicants are private and not-for-profit employers with up to 100 full-time employees.
  • Candidates must be New Jersey residents working full-time (minimum 32 hours per week).
  • Seasonal, part-time, commission-based, or 1099 positions are not eligible.

Additionally, many workers will be eligible for supportive services like childcare and transportation reimbursement, which have been barriers for many re-entering the workforce.

NJ CAR will provide more detailed information when it is issued by NJDOL. In the meantime, employers can visit to express interest in this program and receive application information as it becomes available.

New Jersey job seekers can visit for help finding employment opportunities, as well as access to a variety of NJDOL programs including job search help, résumé and interview guidance, networking advice, education and training, one-on-one support, and services tailored specifically to veterans, mature workers, youth workers, individuals in recovery, justice-involved individuals, and people with disabilities.