Partnerships to Build a Skilled Workforce

The workforce crisis ushered in by the pandemic underscores a critical need for new partnerships and innovative solutions to prepare people for rapidly evolving jobs in changing industries.

That is why NJBIA and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, which comprises the state’s 18 community colleges, are teaming up with state officials, labor unions, business groups, educational institutions, and other workforce development partners on an exciting initiative to ensure we have the highly skilled workforce we need to sustain a thriving economy.

The New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities program is a bold transformation in workforce training. This initiative will more closely align the educational system with industry needs to ensure students have clear, structured pathways that lead to successful careers and that businesses have a pipeline of skilled workers now and in the future.

Pathways to Career Opportunities will be led by four statewide collaboratives – groups of industry leaders and educational partners – who will focus on four sectors that currently provide one-third of all jobs in the state and are expected to grow even faster than the overall state economy. These industries are:

  • Health Services
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Infrastructure and Energy
  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management

The collaboratives will gather high-quality and timely labor market information about the changing needs of employers, and build an ecosystem of education and training partners.

The second part of the Pathways initiative is the 10 Centers of Workforce Innovation, each of which will be led by two to four community colleges in partnership with four-year colleges and universities. The centers will align curriculum so that students have a clear, detailed roadmap for stackable industry-valued credentials to build successful careers.

The goal is to surround students and displaced workers with support needed to accelerate the completion of education and state-of-the-art workforce training so they can enter or reenter the workforce. These detailed pathways will also enable workers to continue earning credentials over their lifetimes so they can advance their careers and increase their economic mobility.

The 10 Centers of Workforce Innovation are focused on areas of the economy that are undergoing rapid change. In the Health Services industry, this includes careers in patient care as well as healthcare technology and administration.

In the Technology and Innovation sector, this includes careers in data science, cybersecurity, programming and software development. In the Infrastructure and Energy sector, this includes careers in renewable energy and construction.

In the Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management sector, this includes careers in manufacturing production and engineering, as well as supply chain logistics.

To make this project a success, we need you. To join us and be one of our industry or education partners in the four statewide collaboratives, go online to www.njpathways.org. There, you can sign up to learn how you can share your ideas, receive regular updates about meetings, and stay engaged.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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Partnerships to Build a Skilled Workforce

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