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New Jersey is home to 18 community colleges that provide the kind of employer-driven education and training businesses need. Students can pursue a variety of classes and degrees that 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 can be even better prepared to meet industry needs. 

What are the types of partnerships that community colleges 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: 
 

  • New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities program allows the business community to join statewide collaboratives with private and public sector stakeholders in four key growth industries: health services, manufacturing and supply chain management, innovation and technology, and infrastructure and energy. Through these collaboratives, businesses are able to help align curriculum to meet industry needs and develop career pathways to provide economic mobility opportunities for New Jerseyans. 
  • 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 with a 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 showcase hundreds of businesses and attract thousands of students.  
  • Classroom speakers and mentorships are opportunities for students to meet with professionals to better understand the world of work.  These experiences are often in the classroom, allowing professionals to give career advice and industry insights directly to students.  
  • Curriculum writing and advisory board participation allows employers to have a direct hand students’ training and education. Working with educators, employers can share their insights about the skills and certifications needed in their industry.  
  • Student site visits and shadowing allow employers to open their doors and demonstrate their day-to-day operations. 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 community college can expand your potential market or customer base. Supporting students’ education and long-term career 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 preview their abilities.  
  • Enhance your staff’s supervisory skills - 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 retention costs - Hiring interns or apprentices who have an established history with your company can reduce your training and recruitment costs. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the one-year retention rate for intern hires with internal experience is 12% higher than those without.  
  • Have a direct hand in student education - Employers will contribute to the job training, economic opportunities and education process for students and future job seekers, ensuring they have the employability skills to succeed in the workforce.   

What are some examples of these partnerships? 

More information on the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities program can be found  here. 

Information on partnerships focused job seekers with disabilities can be found here: A Review of Community College-Employer Partnerships and Initiatives FINAL (production-askearn-org.s3.amazonaws.com). 

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

Employers can receive more information on partnerships by submitting their questions here.  

For additional support, contact:  

  • Catherine Starghill, Senior Director of Strategy and Workforce Partnerships at the New Jersey Council of County Colleges at cstarghill@njccc.org.

What are some of the questions employers should ask when looking to start a partnership?

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

  • What do I hope to get out of this partnership?
  • 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 gain from this partnership?
  • 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:

Chrissy Buteas, NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer at cbuteas@njbia.org.

 

Updated: March 3, 2022