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The new Rowan College at Gloucester County program that combines education and job training is just what businesses need to ensure they have the skilled workers well into the future, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association said today.

The program, Rowan Work & Learn Consortium, was unveiled today at a Statehouse press conference with Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Sandra Cunningham, officials from Rowan College at Gloucester County, state government, the business community, educators and Gloucester County.

Speaking at the press conference, NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Melanie Willoughby called it a way to provide affordable options for students that also meet employers’ demands for skilled workers.

“For years, NJBIA has worked with higher education and government officials to create stronger links between learning in the classroom and the skills needed in the workplace,” Willoughby said. “Rowan College is taking that idea to the next level with what it is calling New Jersey’s first ‘bundled’ consortium.

“This concept is directed at one of New Jersey businesses’ biggest challenges—the lack of workers with the technical skills they need,” Willoughby said. “With this program, students can get marketable skills that will provide them with better job opportunities, and employers will have a pool of skilled workers to draw from in the future.”

Willoughby added that programs like this are essential if New Jersey is going to reach its goal of “65 by 25,” where 65 percent of the workforce will have attained a post-secondary school degree or credential by 2025.

“We will not be able to achieve 65 by 25 without programs like this,” Willoughby said. “New Jersey has to change the way it educates its students if we’re going to remain competitive in the 21st century, and Rowan College has stepped forward and shown us what change looks like. NJBIA will continue to advocate for similar programs throughout the state.”