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NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka, Esq. issued the following statement about the state higher education plan that was announced Tuesday by Gov. Phil Murphy and Higher Education Secretary Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis. Siekerka joined Murphy and Ellis at the news conference at Rutgers University-Newark where the plan was discussed.

Michele Siekerka photo

NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka

“New Jersey needs a strategic plan for post-secondary education and today marks a milestone in setting one. NJBIA greatly appreciates the work of the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and Governor Murphy to design a long-term, appropriately funded higher education plan designed to keep and attract millennials in state and provide a more effective path to the workforce.

“In particular, the plan’s call for infusing more in-demand skills into the curriculum of all students at an earlier stage in their educational path falls directly in line with one of our recommendations in the NJBIA Postsecondary Education Task Force report. Many employers relate to us that the next generation workforce lacks technical skills and employability skills such as problem solving, teamwork and self-direction. Skill-building through enhanced capacity at both our K-12 and Career and Technical Education programs, as well as broadened opportunities for experiential learning across the educational spectrum, is a big step in the right direction.

“We stand ready to work with the Governor and Secretary of Higher Education to attract and retain the next generation workforce in a manner that recognizes the realities of the costs of post-secondary education while not putting any new burden on New Jersey taxpayers.”

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