Skip to main content
Please verify your email and reset your password to enter our NEW Account Center Password Reset

Community college leaders from the state’s 10 Centers of Workforce Innovation, part of the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities initiative, recently gathered to celebrate the milestones achieved during the initiative’s first year and launch Year Two. 

“The work we are doing is transformative and has the real potential to change lives and strengthen the economy,” New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) President Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D., told the crowd of 80 community college leaders at Mill One in Hamilton Friday. 

“Our work is gaining national attention, and we are so proud of the partnerships and the hard work we have done collectively to make this happen,” Fichtner said. We are doing exciting, cutting-edge work, happening on a larger scale than anywhere else in this country, and it’s being noticed. It is only possible with all of you, and I am incredibly proud of the deep and sustainable partnerships that we have collectively achieved among our community colleges.”  

NJ Pathways – formed by New Jersey’s community colleges and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) – brings together industry and education partners to form an education ecosystem that is connected statewide and is guided by industry leaders to build an innovative workforce in the Garden State. This initiative now has more than 1,200 industry and education partners statewide helping to propel New Jersey’s economy to greater heights. 

“We were building the plane as we were flying … as much as I hate that analogy, it is true,” said NJCCC Vice President and Executive Director Catherine Frugé Starghill. “You all shared your wisdom, your expertise, and your knowledge to make NJ Pathways a success – a Best in Class in the nation – and you deserve a round of applause. You made this happen, and at times, it was painful, as things often are when we shift the paradigm. Now as we move into Year Two it will require more blood, sweat, and tears, but we know you’re ready …” 

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz thanked the community college leaders for their work on the NJ Pathways initiative. 

“This is really taking us in the right direction, maybe in a few years my employer members will be complaining less that they can’t find skilled workers, and maybe we’ll have more time to concentrate on other issues because this will no longer be an issue,” Emigholz said. “I think there’s so much potential to make the economy stronger with NJ Pathways, and NJBIA thanks you for your efforts.” 

 NJ Pathways to Career Opportunities milestones achieved during its first year include: 

  • The creation of 10 Centers of Workforce Innovation in four sectors – (1) Health Services, (2) Technology and Innovation, (3) Infrastructure and Energy, and (4) Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management. 
  • The Centers of Workforce Innovation – with New Jersey’s Community Colleges working together in an unprecedented way – have connected and enhanced 22 education and training pathways within these four fastest-growing industries in the state. 
  • The creation of sustainable partnerships – “a paradigm shift” – between industry and education. These partnerships engage industry to directly influence pathways so future employees will have the skills and training needed by business in New Jersey. 
  • The initiative has gained over 1,200 industry and education partners. The Centers of Workforce Innovation include 20 high schools, 17 community colleges, nine four-year colleges and universities, eight labor unions, and four community-based training providers. 

Moving forward to “Year-Two” of NJ Pathways, NJCCC announced the creation of an online repository at – to be completed in late spring – to house Pathways documents and curriculum so they can be shared with education partners statewide. 

Collaborative “Brag and Share Sessions” will also be held in the upcoming months. The community college leaders were also informed that the New Jersey Big Data Alliance is partnering with NJ Pathways for a convening of four-year colleges and universities and community colleges at Middlesex County College in April 2023.  

About the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) 

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) was created in 1989 to support and promote New Jersey’s 18 Community Colleges. The Community Colleges now enroll more than 180,000 people each year in credit, non-credit, and workforce development courses at more than 70 campuses throughout the state. The New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development is a subsidiary of NJCCC. The Consortium brings together the Community Colleges as a collective to provide workforce development training.