NJBIA teams up with N.J. community colleges, others in effort to build highly skilled workforce

With the current workforce crisis and the need for further workforce development in the state, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association together with the state’s community colleges will be hosting NJ Pathways to Career Opportunities at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

(Register here.)

The program is intended to align employers, industry associations, chambers of commerce, labor unions, education institutions and workforce development partners to provide students and workers with structured pathways to find career opportunities and to ensure that employers have access to a highly skilled workforce to meet critical labor market needs.

This statewide partnership will provide students and workers with the education and career pathways they need to find new careers, and to ensure that employers have access to a highly skilled workforce to meet critical labor market needs.

Chrissy Buteas. (File photo)

“We’re charged with bringing together industry, academia, government and labor unions to try to identify what those skills are going to be needed in the future and to map out what that career pathway looks like from an educational perspective with the input from those who are boots on the ground, which is the employer community,” Chrissy Buteas, the chief government affairs officer at NJBIA, told ROI-NJ.

Last Dec. 15, New Jersey’s community colleges officially launched the NJ Pathways to Career Opportunities initiative, which was led by collaboratives focused on four industries that are the foundation of the state’s economy: health services; technology and innovation; infrastructure and energy; and manufacturing and supply chain management.

This second installment also will focus on the four industries and include breakouts and informative sessions from some of the industry top leaders, including:

  • Cathy Bennett, New Jersey Hospital Association (health services);
  • Aaron Price, TechUnited: New Jersey (technology and innovation);
  • Clint Wallace, Sanofi (pharma/manufacturing);
  • Bernie Corrigan, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (infrastructure).

Other industry breakout sessions will include discussions focused on how to address industry needs through rapidly responsive education solutions to benefit students and working adults for a prosperous state economy and steps we can all agree on to achieve the most skilled and innovative workforce.

Buteas said the Wednesday virtual event will bring all the stakeholders together to talk about how to keep the industry moving forward with actual boots-on-the-ground feedback from those in the industry.

“The business world needs a qualified workforce, and, with the rate of speed that some of the programs and criteria for credentials change, not all folks are finding themselves having the same skills coming out of the same programs,” she said.

“Pathways provides a good tool to get all those stackable credentials in one place. These collaboratives are designed to obtain high-quality and timely labor market information about the changing needs of employers, and to build an ecosystem of education and training partners to encourage collaboration and information sharing. They can capitalize on the education and experience that they already have gained and keep that lifelong career learning moving forward.”