The New Jersey State Plan for Higher Education: "Where Opportunity Meets Innovation: A Student-Centered Vision for New Jersey Higher Education" includes a tenet that every student in New Jersey should have high-quality, career-relevant academic programs that will prepare them to succeed in the global economy. Strengthening Career Pathways initiatives strive to create stronger ties between businesses and higher education by promoting industry-academic partnerships, such as experiential learning opportunities, and assessing student labor market outcomes. The initiative expand stackable credential pathways for individuals at all stages of their lives and assist New Jersey’s higher education institutions in evaluating student labor market outcomes.
Evaluating Outcomes for New Jersey’s Higher Education Institutions
Having complete information on students’ post-collegiate outcomes is invaluable to support, inform, and empower stakeholders across the state—including current and prospective students, higher education institutions, employers, and state agencies and policymakers. The Utilizing Labor Market Information Pilot Program defined a set of metrics and data collection processes to holistically measure students’ post-collegiate success. The final report and toolkit resulting from the Pilot Program present the lessons learned and recommendations for New Jersey to scale labor market data collection best practices for institutions.
Building stackable, Industry-valued Credentials
In order to meet industry demand, postsecondary higher education institutions must turn their attention to build stackable, industry-valued credentials by designing and offering robust and inclusive career pathways that are continuously assessed, that incorporate high school collaborations, that allow for seamless transitions between non-credit and credit programs, and that include innovative industry partnerships. The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development brought together industry leaders to map credential pathways within three industries: (1) supply chain logistics, (2) data analytics, and (3) offshore wind. The guidebooks help students and higher education institutions identify occupations within each industry and the skills and credentials needed for entry.