Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday to establish county college certification programs to meet the needs of certain regional employers.
This bill directs the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development to consult with each county college to foster the development of certificate programs connecting regional employers to those schools in the collaborative development of programs that meet employers’ unique needs and are directly connected to the knowledge and skills required by the employer.
The certificate programs established by the county college must be directly targeted to business and industry located in the region that have an identified and immediate need to hire employees with education and skills that are not being addressed through other available training opportunities, according to the legislation.
“Community college certificate programs will help to expand New Jersey’s workforce by giving students the opportunity to learn skills tailored to their potential employers,” state Sen. Bob Andrzejczak, D-1st District, a sponsor of the measure, said in a prepared statement. “These programs will open new pathways and economic opportunities for students after graduation by fostering a stronger relationship between students and employers.”
Murphy also signed into law Assembly Bill 4115 to clarify that certain students are eligible for NJ STARS and NJ STARS II scholarship upon initial enrollment at institutions of higher education on a part-time basis.
NJ STARS is the first state-sponsored scholarship program exclusively for New Jersey residents that covers the cost of tuition at New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. The NJ Stars II program is a continuation of the NJ STARS program that provides NJ STARS students at the state’s county colleges with funding to transfer to a New Jersey four-year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree.
New Jersey high school students who graduate in the top 15 percent of their New Jersey high school class may be eligible for NJ STARS.
A4115 was sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel Benson, D-14th District; Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, D-14th District; Assemblyman Jamel Holley, D-20th District; and Sen. Linda Greenstein, D-14th District.