New Jersey business and industry leaders team up with community colleges

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association and New Jersey Community Colleges have launched an initiative designed to help the state’s education system build an innovative workforce.

Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of NJBIA, said the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities program “will bring together and align New Jersey employers with our academic institutions and students to create and develop the skills needed for now and for the future. in New Jersey.

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She said the program will bring together contributions from employers, industry associations, unions and workforce development partners to help educational institutions design structured pathways for students to find jobs. and career opportunities in demand.

She noted that we have been witnessing a skills shortage crisis in New Jersey for many years and clearly “we absolutely need to educate our students today and what jobs are available to them today and tomorrow.”

Aaron Fichtner, president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, said the economy and the needs of employers are changing rapidly and it is important “to work with the NJBIA and the business community to better understand the needs of the economy and ensure that our community colleges and their partners prepare people for the jobs of the future.

What is the goal

The initiative focuses on four industries that are the basis of the state’s economy: health services; technology and innovation; infrastructure and energy; and manufacturing and supply chain management.

These four collaborations will be supported by 10 innovation centers for the workforce, which will include partners in education and training. All 18 New Jersey community college partners, as well as high schools, four-year colleges and universities, and community training providers will be involved, with the goal of aligning and improving existing curriculum, to give priority to diplomas valued by industry and to develop transfer. Agreements.

Siekerka said this initiative will be a game-changer for the Garden State.

“The ability to have the resources at hand now to continue to bridge the skills gap by bringing New Jersey employers together with our educators is important,” she said.

Fichtner said that as the program progresses, “it will mean better information, better guidance for high school students and adults who are trying to make good career decisions.”

He said the initiative will ensure they get “the skills and education that will help them build careers, which will put community colleges at the forefront of technology.”

Fichtner added that the world is changing rapidly and “the skills that people will need to be successful will be different, and we need to make sure that we work with the business community to keep pace with these many changes.”

A statewide New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunity convocation will take place on January 19 at Middlesex College, Edison, with the option for interested parties to join virtually or in person.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at [email protected]

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