New Jersey help for laid-off pharmaceutical workers

New Jersey's Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced a program today to help unemployed pharmaceutical workers retrain for new jobs.

Businesses can receive up to $14,000 over six months if they are willing to retrain and employ former pharma workers from approved locations of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hoffman-La Roche, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., and Pfizer companies.

The federal grant, received in October 2010, is being managed by the Life Sciences Talent Network at BioNJ. The grant is only available for a limited time, the labor department said in a press release issued Monday afternoon. The BioNJ folks will help screen potential employees.

The release leaves questions unanswered: How much is grant? Why, if the grant was received in October, 2010, which was the highest month for unemployment nationally at 10 percent, is the money just becoming available now? What types of workers will qualify?

And then, to put it in context, what is the employment situation for the pharmaceutical industry in New Jersey. No answers yet, but when I find them out, I'll let you know. BioNJ is an industry group trying to advance biotechnology and biotechnology-related industries in New Jersey.

Here's the contact information from the press release:

For more details and to apply for these grants please contact Nadine Scala, Pharma OJT Coordinator in Morristown via phone at (973) 829-8400 ext. 233 or via email at Additional contacts include Christopher Peake, Direct Services Coordinator, Greater Raritan One Stop Center in Somerville, who may be reached via phone at 908-541-5782 or via email at Other contacts include Vicki Gaddy or Matt Alcalde at the Life Sciences Talent Network at BioNJ who may be reached via phone at 609-890-3185.