Feb-20-14 Christie Administration Joins African American Chamber of Commerce Conference on Building A Competitive Workforce
State Labor Official Leads Discussion on Sustaining a Competitive Workforce
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., February 20, 2014 _ Members of the Christie Administration and leaders of New Jersey’s business, education and workforce development sectors joined the African American Chamber of Commerce on New Jersey, as the statewide organization hosted its inaugural education conference at the Hyatt Regency to discuss building a competitive workforce.
The African American Chamber hosted two panel sessions to focus on developing skills among New Jersey workers that keep them marketable in a volatile and competitive economy, and initiatives that will help instill successful skills in and expand opportunities for students, particularly those from low-income families.
“This Administration has forged alliances with New Jersey employers and industry leaders to identify the skills that job-seekers need to obtain to find lasting employment, which are the same skills the Garden State’s most promising industries need to have in their workforces to prosper in an ever-changing, global market,” said Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “Identifying those skills also allows our students to make more informed decisions about their career goals and our educational institutions to develop more industry-focused curriculums to prepare people for New Jersey’s future employment opportunities.”
The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities and businesses throughout New Jersey. The conference was the organization’s first major event focused on the subject of education and employment skills.
Catherine Starghill, Director of Workforce Field Services for the Labor Department, spoke at a session entitled: “Sustaining a Competitive Workforce.” The discussion focused on employment trends, employer-identified skills and implementing programs and strategies to strengthen, recruit and retain a competitive workforce in New Jersey.
“Preparing Our Children With a 21st Century Education,” the title of the second discussion, explored educational reforms needed to close gaps in academic achievement among various populations around the state as well as efforts to improve the skills of low-income students to better prepare them for careers in the state’s growing industry sectors.
Under the Christie Administration, the Department of Labor has been working to better align educational curriculums with the skill needs of the Garden State’s key industry clusters. Last week, Labor Commissioner Harold J. Wirths joined Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno as she kicked off a state-wide tour to highlight the partnerships New Jersey’s career and technical schools have forged with business, industry and higher education to improve the employment prospects and marketability of their students
The Lt. Governor, with the aid of the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and the Office of Higher Education, is focusing on closing skills-gaps identified in the workforce by better aligning educational curriculums with the skill-needs identified by employers in New Jersey’s major industry clusters.
The Department of Labor created “Talent Networks” around seven key industry clusters in New Jersey that pay more than two-thirds of the annual wages paid in the state and which employ more than two-thirds of the workers. The Talent Networks have worked not only to assist the employers of those industry clusters to connect with job-seekers, but also to identify the skills needed for job-seekers to find employment. The state’s seven Talent Networks center around: Health Care; Life Sciences; Transportation, Logistics and Distribution; Advanced Manufacturing; Financial Services; Technology and Entrepreneurship; and Retail, Hospitality and Tourism.
For more information about the state’s Talent Networks, go to: http://careerconnections.nj.gov/careerconnections/partners/talent/talent_networks.shtml.
Catherine Starghill (left), director of Workforce Field Services for the New Jersey Department
of Labor and Workforce Development, participates in a panel discussion at an educational
conference organized by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. Starghill
spoke at a session entitled: “Sustaining a Competitive Workforce.” The discussion focused on
employment trends, employer-identified skills and implementing programs and strategies to
strengthen, recruit and retain a competitive workforce in New Jersey.