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 New Jersey is home to 19 community colleges that provide the kind of employer-driven education and training businesses need. Students can pursue a variety of classes and degrees that can align with both the industry specific technical skills and the employability skills all employers value – like responsibility, teamwork, communications and creative thinking. With additional employer involvement, students would be even better prepared to meet industry needs.

What are the types of partnerships do Community Colleges have to offer?

There are numerous partnership opportunities that can be found in most subject areas and academic disciplines at New Jersey’s county colleges. Below are the most common examples:

  • Research, Internship and Apprenticeship Experiences provide students an opportunity to try out a job overseen by an experienced professional in the field. These opportunities vary in time commitment. Apprenticeships are a type of on the job training which may lead to certification.
  • College Sponsored Career Fairs provide students the priceless opportunity to network with various businesses to shape their future careers. These career fairs are also beneficial for businesses to meet local talented employees to join their team. Some career fairs can have as many as 150 businesses and attract thousands of students.
  • Classroom Speakers and Mentorships are opportunities where students can meet with professionals to better understand the world of work. Often at times, these experiences are in the classroom and professionals are able to directly give career advice and industry insights.
  • Curriculum Writing and Advisory Board Participation allows employers in a direct hand in what students are trained and educated in. Working with educators, employers can share their insights on the skills and certifications needed in the world of work.
  • Student Site Visits and Shadowing allow employers to open their doors and demonstrate their day-to-day operations firsthand. Programs like job shadowing give students a chance to see what a specific job is really like, while a workplace tour can highlight a variety of jobs offered at a business.

What are some of the benefits of partnering?

  • Increase visibility and brand recognition – Working with a school can expand your potential market or customer base. Supporting students’ education and long-term goals can help you reach other students, parents, educators and members of the community.
  • Additional sales – Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to patronize good business stewards – companies who have a presence and help their local community.
  • View potential employees in action – Internship and apprenticeships provide the opportunity to observe potential candidates’ performance before hiring. You can assess their “fit” with your organization and receive a preview of their abilities.
  • Enhance supervisory skills of your staff – Allowing your staff to take on the responsibility of mentoring students in the classroom, after school, or during an internship can enhance your staff’s leadership and management skills and improve teamwork and efficiency on other projects.
  • Cut down on recruitment and retaining costs – Hiring interns or apprentices that have an established history with your company can reduce your training and recruitment costs. Research also shows students who are hired full-time after completing their internships are more likely to stay with the organization for longer periods of time.
  • Have a direct hand in student education – Employers will contribute to the job training and education process for these current students, or future job seekers, ensuring they will have the employability skills to succeed in the workforce.

What are some examples of these partnerships?

NJBIA has developed a list of the top partnerships in the state. Check out “Community College Employer Partnership Programs: Examples Across New Jersey” for more details.

Who should I contact if I want to partner with a community college?

NJBIA has developed a single point of contact list for each of the 19 county colleges. Check out “NJ County College Contacts for Employers” for more details.

For additional support, contact:

What are some of the questions employers should ask when looking to partner?

There are several questions employers should ask both potential community college partners and themselves in order to ensure an effective and lasting partnership.

  • What do I hope to get out of this partnership? Are these expectations realistic?
  • How much time and/or resources can I and/or my business commit to this partnership?
  • What does the college and its students hope to get out of this partnership? Are these expectations realistic?
  • Does the desired school already offer a program or an initiative I can support?
  • Are there other employers within my field or in the local community partnering with the same school?
  • Who would be liable if something happened during the time I am able to commit?

For more information, contact:

Andrew Musick at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association at 609-858-9512 or email him at


Updated: December 18, 2017  

Education & Workforce Development News

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