Higher Ed

NJ’s Community Colleges Commend Murphy’s Commitment

Gov. Phil Murphy announced a significant initiative to strengthen and expand apprenticeships in New Jersey. Apprenticeships have proven in New Jersey and other states to provide an effective pathway to a job and career for individuals, while building a skilled workforce. The most effective apprenticeships are driven by the needs of employers and provide participants with the opportunity to advance their careers through the earning of college credits and degrees.

“New Jersey’s community colleges applaud Governor Murphy’s leadership for expanding career opportunities for New Jerseyans, and we welcome the opportunity to expand the role community colleges play in delivering apprenticeship programs and degree and certificate programs that lead directly to employment in New Jersey’s high-growth industry sectors,” said Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D., president, New Jersey Council of County Colleges.

New Jersey’s community colleges play a significant role in the state’s higher education system by providing high-quality, affordable education to over 325,000 students each year in credit, noncredit and customized workforce training programs. Collectively, New Jersey’s 19 community colleges offer over 1,700 credit degree and certificate programs and noncredit courses leading to associate degrees, certificates, licensure, certification, and career opportunities. And, over the last eight years, New Jersey’s 19 community colleges have increased the number of community college graduates by 48 percent.

New Jersey’s community colleges offer a wide range of career pathway programs that include many of the key elements of apprenticeships. These programs lead to industry-valued credentials and degrees, and incorporate significant involvement from employers through program design and implementation. Many of the programs integrate work experience into the curriculum including internships and co-op education programs. Many of these programs lead to an associate in applied science degree or a related degree in a relevant field. These programs offer pathways to additional education and training, including transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Many of these programs include partnerships with high schools, including county vocational technical high school districts.

“New Jersey’s community colleges are well positioned to strengthen and expand career pathway programs and to modify existing career pathway programs into registered apprenticeships,” Fichtner added.

In addition to delivering programs to meet local needs, New Jersey’s community colleges provide statewide training services through the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development. Since its inception, the Consortium has trained over 207,000 employees at over 9,000 companies throughout New Jersey. For example, the Workforce Consortium provides a 12-week Advanced Manufacturing Training Program in partnership with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. This program helps participants acquire skills and accreditation in metal fabrication using computer numerical control (CNC). Since its launch in 2012, more than 140 New Jersey manufacturers have hired 85 percent of the graduates from this program. Most of the people in this program were unemployed before they completed their training.

In addition, three of New Jersey’s community colleges have been designated as Talent Development Centers in key industries by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development:

  • Camden County College – Advanced Manufacturing;
  • Rowan College at Gloucester County – Financial Services; and
  • Rowan College at Burlington County – Transportation, Logistics and Distribution.

These community colleges are currently working to develop apprenticeship and career pathway programs for these key industries.

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is a resource that strengthens and supports the state’s 19 community colleges.

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