Melanie Willoughby Joins Heldrich Center National Advisory Board

The Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, located in New Brunswick, is pleased to announce the appointment of Melanie Willoughby to its national advisory board.

Willoughby is the Chief Government Affairs Officer of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA). Prior to joining NJBIA, she served as the President and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association. She started her career in the government arena 40 years ago when she joined the administration of New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne. She served as the Director of State and Federal Government Affairs for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

Willoughby leads NJBIA’s efforts in workforce development and innovation. She is the founder and Co-Chair of the Innovation NJ Coalition, which was organized to promote innovation collaboration between business and higher education. She is currently on the New Jersey Council on Innovation led by New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks. In 2012, Governor Chris Christie appointed her to the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission. She chairs the New Jersey Employability Skills Task Force, which is the statewide effort to incorporate career readiness into K-16 education and employability skills into all workforce training. She also serves on the advisory board of the New Start Career Network, which is part of the Heldrich Center.

In 2004, she was appointed to serve on New Jersey’s Mandated Health Benefits Commission and she is presently Vice Chair of the Commission. Governor Christie appointed her to a three-year term on the Unemployment Insurance Reform Task Force, where she served as the Co-Chair. She was appointed by the Rowan University Board of Governors to serve on the Rowan South Jersey Technology Park board of directors.

Willoughby is actively involved in many community and civic organizations. She serves on the Central Jersey Board of Junior Achievement. She also serves on the board of Isles, a nonprofit organization in Trenton. She is a Rutgers University Eagleton Institute Visiting Fellow, serving as a mentor to Eagleton students. She has a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College, where she was in the first class of women to attend Rutgers College.

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