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The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) announced that its President, Aaron Fichtner, PhD., and its Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships and the Executive Director of the New Jersey Community College Consortium of Workforce and Economic Development, Catherine Frugé Starghill, Esq., spoke at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 2023 Workforce Development Institute in Indian Wells, California.

Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) President Dr. Michael McDonough and County College of Morris (CCM) President Anthony Iacono, also shared their expertise at the conference themed “Shockwaves,” which runs January 18 – 21, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa. 

“We are proud that New Jersey Community Colleges are a catalyst for progress and change both in the Garden State and beyond,” Dr. Fichtner said. “The New Jersey Pathways initiative that we developed will be the backbone of strengthening our workforce. We are excited to share our innovative strategies with the more than 600 attendees expected at this conference from around the country to help support their economic development efforts.”

Fichtner was a panelist in the workshop session titled, “Policy Priorities,” focusing on AACC’s policy priorities for workforce related legislation. He is also speaking today during the closing plenary session focused on “Industry 5.0,” about the advancements and interest of Community Colleges in the cell and gene therapy space. 

“We are grateful that our expertise and perspective, related to workforce and economic development strategies, have been recognized by conference organizers as valuable to our peers nationwide. We also look forward to gaining insights from our colleagues on how we can improve,” added Starghill, who spoke during the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” preconference session this week.

Fichtner and Starghill are thought leaders in education in New Jersey and the nation. Together in their leadership roles at NJCCC, they spearheaded the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities Initiative which brings together industry and education partners to form an education ecosystem that is connected statewide and is guided by industry leaders to build an innovative workforce in the Garden State.

This cutting-edge initiative now has more than 1,200 industry and education partners statewide helping to propel New Jersey’s economy to new heights through a partnership with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA).  

“The work New Jersey’s Community Colleges is doing to align education and industry is unprecedented. The impact it will have on strengthening our economy cannot be overstated,” Dr. McDonough said. “We are delighted to share our best practices and knowledge with our peers from coast to coast”

McDonough was a panelist in the “Early College Exposure and Education Models” workshop session.

Dr. Anthony Iacono, the President of County College of Morris, was a panelist in the “Transitioning from Transfer” session. 

“I am a firm believer that great Community Colleges are those which strengthen the local economy by helping retain businesses and attracting new companies by training a skilled workforce,” added Iacono.

Lori Margolin, associate vice president for the School of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Hudson County Community College, will also be a panelist in the “Success for All: Justice-Involved Students session. Margolin has an entrepreneurial approach to workforce development which has resulted in “Gateway to Innovation” – a comprehensive workforce development initiative funded by JPMorgan Chase Foundation – and the “Hudson County Workforce Leadership Academy” sponsored by The Aspen Institute. 

About the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) 

 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. 

The New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development is a subsidiary of NJCCC. The Consortium brings together the Community Colleges as a collective to provide workforce development training. 

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.