New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities (State of New Jersey)


In December 2021, New Jersey’s community colleges and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association launched the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities—Aligning Education to Build an Innovative Workforce.  Through this initiative, employers, industry associations, labor unions, education institutions, and workforce development partners collaborate to provide students and workers with the career pathways they need to find new careers and opportunity, and to ensure that employers have access to a highly skilled workforce to meet labor market needs. The initiative was supported by the New Jersey FY2022 state budget, and part of the education and economic priorities of Governor Murphy and New Jersey Legislature.

Two components of the initiative focus on expanding stackable credential pathways for individuals at all stages of their lives and careers, and building an innovative workforce.

Collaboratives —Groups of industry leaders and educational partners across the state that are focused on four key industries, are building statewide and inclusive talent ecosystems (career pathways) based on collaboration and information to expand economic mobility opportunity and drive economic growth. Partners include businesses, industry associations, chambers of commerce, labor unions, workforce development boards, state government, community-based organizations, adult literacy training providers, vocational technical school districts, private career schools, 4-year colleges and universities.

The four industries that are the foundation of the state’s economy: (1) health services; (2) manufacturing & supply chain management; (3) technology & innovation; and (4) infrastructure & energy.

2021-2022 deliverables: strategic workforce plan, inventories of programs and facilities, identification of labor market demand and industry-valued credentials, development of detailed career pathway maps, and dissemination of career pathway maps

Centers of Workforce Innovation — focus on 10 career areas, to build pathways with aligned curriculum shared across educational partners to serve the learning lifespan of students and workers to build an innovative workforce:

  • Health Services
    • Patient Care
    • Healthcare Tech & Administration
  • Manufacturing & Supply Chain Management
    • Manufacturing Production & Engineering
    • Supply Chain Logistics
  • Technology & Innovation
    • Data Science
    • Cybersecurity
    • Program and Software Development
    • Research & Development
  • Infrastructure & Energy
    • Renewable Energy
    • Construction

Each Center has education and training partners, including 2-5 community college partners along with other education institutions (high schools, 4-year colleges and universities across the state).

 Each Center is

  1. Developing new aligned and improve existing curriculum from high schools to community colleges to 4-year colleges and universities.
  2. Placing priority to industry-valued credentials embedded in credit programs.
  3. Sharing curriculum and providing professional development for faculty/teachers.
  4. Developing transfer agreements (dual (concurrent) enrollment between high school and community college, 1+1 among community college, and 2+2 and 3+1 between community college and 4-year institutions.
  5. Piloting prior learning assessments solutions.
  6. Piloting training/education consisting of noncredit programs connected to credit pathways, dual (concurrent) enrollment programs on a pathway, and incumbent worker training.
  7. Year-End Performance Reports

Each Center promotes the use of Community College Opportunity Grants and other state and federal financial aid to support movement along pathways including for incumbent workers, and promotes the expansion of Apprenticeship and other work-based learning opportunities for students.

Progress by June 2024

  • Created four industry collaboratives.
  • Created sustainable partnerships between industry and education so that industry may directly influence education and training pathways to ensure future employees have the skills and training needed by businesses in New Jersey.
  • Engaged more than 1,800 industry and education partners in one pathways-focused, statewide ecosystem.
  • Created 10 Centers of Workforce Innovation focused on occupations across the four industry collaboratives in which cross-education sector partners build new and enhance existing education and training pathways for traditional students, adult learners, and worker.
  • Developed 67 education and training pathways, workshops, registered apprenticeships, pilots, and professional development sessions to meet learners where they are for the live-long learning required of our competitive economy.
  • Over 6,500 high school students, college students, adult learners, workers, and education professionals participated in NJ Pathways funded workshops, courses, apprenticeships, training programs, and professional development sessions.


Leadership of the initiative is provided by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. The NJCCC works to strengthen and support New Jersey’s 18 community colleges that enroll more than 230,000 people each year in credit, noncredit, and workforce development courses at more than 49 campuses throughout the state. The New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development is an organization formed under the NJCCC to expand partnerships to train and educate New Jersey residents for careers.​


Press release: (2021)

Press release: (2024)

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