TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is offering a $500 incentive to unemployed people who go back to work at businesses with 100 or fewer employees and receive job training, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

The incentive, dubbed the Return and Earn Program, will be financed with $10 million of federal COVID-19 funds.

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The Democratic governor says the new program will use already-existing job-training infrastructure to provide wage reimbursement to employers. Employers who hire workers with “skills gaps” can also get 50% of the wages reimbursed during the training period under the program.

The employer wage subsidy will be capped at $10,000.

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The program has the support of lawmakers as well as business groups. Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said the program will provide job training as well as an incentive to get workers back in jobs.

John Harmon Sr., president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey added: “It’s a good use of funds to help address the labor shortage that has adversely impacted our small businesses during the pandemic.”

Murphy said the $500 incentive to eligible workers would be paid in their first paycheck.

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