Businesses and Higher Education Working Together in Gloucester County

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Gloucester County is coming together to create New Jersey’s first bundled education program centered around job training.

“Not everyone is going to come out of high school and go to college," said Les Vail, president and CEO of Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce. "They may go into a job, but they need training, they need certifications."

So, the Chamber and state organizations have teamed up with Rowan University and Rowan College at Gloucester County to make it happen with the new Work & Learn Consortium.

“What that is is a series of stackable credentials," said Michael Plagianakos, dean of University Relations at Rowan College at Gloucester County. "So, we start with a certificate or a certification at the first year. We tie that into an associate’s degree in the second year. We tie that into another certificate in the third year. And then we tie that into a bachelor’s degree in the fourth year."

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They want to create a trained workforce for Gloucester County by focusing on seven needed labor areas.

“The idea is to keep the economy strong in South Jersey by training individuals for jobs that are high demand in this region,” said Plagianakos.

With the program, they’ve made it possible for a student to stop in or out at any given time.

“So credentialing can take place within a semester," said Plagianakos. "They can get the certificate that they need to go into the workforce if that’s what they choose to do."

And they can jump back in at any point to learn more. But it’s how they’re getting the curriculum for the classes that makes it stand out even more.

“They’ll be able to work with industries like manufacturing and create programming that’s more need-specific," said Vail. "They’ll then be able to recruit students to come through this program that they can then put into the workforce."

The program is in the research and development stages right now. But it is expected to officially roll out at the start of the next school year.

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