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The New Jersey Council for County Colleges (NJCCC) advanced its mission to align education and workforce needs last week with a collaborative meeting between manufacturing industry leaders and educators.

“This is a broad and unprecedented collaborative effort for Community Colleges working together with large numbers of partners. We believe that if we’re going to build a competitive workforce to propel our economy to the next level, we must do it together,” said NJCCC President Aaron R. Ficthner, Ph.D.

New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities program – Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management Collaborative Meeting at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg included presentations of Raritan Valley Community Colleges’ Advanced Manufacturing Program, Sussex County College’s Optics Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Program, an overview of the pathways of the Center of Workforce Innovation for Manufacturing Production and Engineering, and a Manufacturing Industry expert panel discussion.

On the panel was Gail Friedberg, president of Zago, Clifford Lindholm, president and CEO of Falstrom Company, and Sam Thevanayagam, president of Parts Life.

The mission of the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities Initiative, led by New Jersey’s Community Colleges and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, is to align education to build an innovative workforce. It is comprised of four Industry Collaboratives, which are statewide inclusive groups of industry leaders and educational partners across the state focused on the four key industries of the state’s economy: (1) Health Services, (2) Infrastructure and Energy, (3) Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, and (4) Technology and Innovation. The Pathways Initiative will expand economic mobility for students and adult learners, and drive economic growth for employers.

At each of the four Industry Collaborative meetings, NJCCC brings together industry and education partners from across the state and sectors to share labor market intelligence, as well as discuss other key topics regarding workforce development and education issues. The Pathways Initiative is creating a connected education ecosystem to industry and has more than 1,200 industry and education partners since its kick-off in December 2021.

“Pathways places our State’s Community Colleges at the hub of all workforce activities. We are able to design, deliver, and assess programs built on a framework that uses multiple data sets to understand labor market demand and that invites all public and private stakeholders,” said RVCC President Michael J. McDonough.

About the New Jersey Council of County Colleges

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) was created in 1989 to support and promote New Jersey’s 18 Community Colleges that now enroll more than 300,000 people each year in credit, non-credit, and workforce development courses at more than 70 campuses throughout the state. More than 200,000 students – over half of all undergraduate students in public colleges and universities in the state – are enrolled at New Jersey’s Community Colleges. The Community Colleges also enroll nearly 100,000 students in non-credit programs and partner with thousands of businesses to meet their training and workforce needs.​

The primary goal of New Jersey’s 18 Community Colleges is to meet the ever-changing educational needs of our great state’s residents. Today, through more than 1,700 degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit courses and customized workforce training programs, New Jersey Community Colleges are helping more students than ever. Further, equity and access priorities are advanced every day with over half of the total undergraduate enrollment in New Jersey Community Colleges coming from minority and traditionally underrepresented populations.​

To learn more about NJCCC and New Jersey’s Community Colleges, go to Follow us @NJCommColleges on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to learn more about our latest programs and initiatives.