On appeal from the Board of Review, New Jersey Department of Labor.
Approved for Publication August 4, 1997.
Before Judges P.g. Levy and Humphreys. The opinion of the court was delivered by Humphreys, J.A.D.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Humphreys
The opinion of the court was delivered by
The claimant appeals from a decision of the Board of Review of the New Jersey Department of Labor which held her ineligible for "additional benefits during training." See N.J.S.A. 43:21-60(e)(1). The claimant is a chemist. The Board found that her
desire to enter training to merely learn computer skills and word processing to enhance the chances of her finding work in a field wherein she already has education and experience is admirable, but not the purpose of the Additional Benefits during Training statute and certainly not "training for a labor demand occupation."
Claimant maintains that she has met the criteria for additional benefits under the statute. We agree and reverse.
The claimant has a bachelors degree in chemistry and has earned graduate credits toward a masters degree in chemistry. She was laid off in February 1995 by her employer due to the employer's "downsizing." She filed for and collected unemployment compensation benefits for February and then found temporary work in March 1995. She testified that she resigned from her last position because of a medical problem.
In November 1995, she decided to enroll in a community college and take courses in computer programming and word processing. She thought these courses would give her additional administrative skills which would enhance her chance of being re-employed in the chemistry field. She applied for and was denied unemployment compensation benefits under the Workforce Development Partnership Program. See N.J.S.A. 43:21-57 to -66.
The workforce development legislation was enacted in 1992 in response to the economic downturn in the late 1980's. The legislation provides additional unemployment benefits to displaced employees while they are in training or receiving education in order to acquire marketable skills. See N.J.S.A. 43:21-57 to -66. The Legislature found:
The effectiveness of current programs to retrain displaced workers during the time that they receive unemployment benefits is hindered by the limited duration of those benefits, which often drives displaced workers into short-term retraining programs with limited skill enhancement or results in the programs' avoiding the selection of trainees who need more extensive training to succeed.
The legislation would address this ...