U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg came to the County College of Morris last week — and he liked what he saw.
Buttigieg, joined by U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11th Dist.), toured CCM’s state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Center as part of a visit intended to highlight what the recent infrastructure bill can do — and to see how community colleges are implementing practices that encourage workforce development.
Buttigieg and Sherrill saw how CCM’s center served diverse populations in every sense of the world, including high school students from the college’s share-time programs with the Morris County Vocational School District, individuals participating in the college’s apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing and health care, and those who take advantage of the Center for Workforce Development’s wide range of industry-recognized certificate programs to get a job, get a better job or get better at the job they’re in.
Buttigieg praised the efforts of CCM and Sherrill, saying that having the public sector and the private sector working together is key.
“Where everyone here comes into play is the implementation of this law, the delivery of these resources that Congress, the president entrusted the departments like mine to make a reality,” he said. “This will largely depend on the human capital, the skill sets, the workforce that will be called on that are increasingly demanding and sophisticated, whether they have college degrees or not.
“The truth is, we will only succeed in delivering this investment if we leave no talent on the table, if every ounce of potential is realized.”
Along with receiving strong federal, state and county support, more than 50 manufacturing companies are partners in CCM’s pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and other WFD programs, providing guidance on curriculum, donations of the latest industry-leading equipment and scholarships to support students. Included among WFD’s successes are that 93% of those who complete the advanced manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program who want a job are placed into a position. In the last three years, more than 4,500 students also have registered for 8,737 workforce development courses.
CCM President Tony Iacono said the school is happy to play its role in workforce development.
“In recent years, through public and private partnerships, and with the strong support of industry, we have been able to substantially expand our workforce programs to help area residents secure good-paying jobs that sustain families and promote healthy communities,” he said.
“Without the support of our county commissioners and state and federal legislators, including Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, we would not be able to support workforce development as extensively as we do.”
Sherrill said she was happy to have a chance to show Buttigieg how Jersey does it.
“It was great to host Secretary Buttigieg here in NJ-11 to highlight how our colleges and local businesses are training a workforce that will meet employer’s needs by training students to meet the technological and innovative requirements of the 21st century,” she said.
“One of New Jersey’s greatest strengths is its long history of innovation, including inventors like Thomas Edison and the scientists at Bell Labs. Whether it’s passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law or introducing provisions in (the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) and the National Defense Authorization Act, I am fighting hard to strengthen our state’s workforce and innovation sectors. I look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary and our community leaders to advance these important issues.”