NJ Deputy Labor Commissioner Honored with Community College Spirit Award

TRENTON, N.J.— On June 17, during its annual New Jersey Community College Awards Ceremony, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges presented the 2013 Community College Spirit Award to New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Deputy Commissioner Dr. Aaron Fichtner for his exemplary support of New Jersey’s community colleges.

“Since its inauguration in 1993, the Community College Spirit Award has been an honor bestowed to those who embody the community college spirit – perseverance, dedication and excellence,” said NJCCC Chairman Bakari G. Lee, Esq.

“I’m very honored to receive the New Jersey Council of County Colleges Spirit Award. Community colleges have become an important partner for our department as we have changed the dynamics of workforce development in New Jersey by focusing on skills that meet the needs of our state’s most promising industries. It is a partnership that must continue if we are to be successful in our mission to employ everyone looking for work while simultaneously bolstering our economic future,” said Deputy Commissioner Fichtner.

Fichtner was recognized for his leadership is supporting the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development for various statewide workforce training projects, including: the New Jersey Business and Industry Association Basic Skills Training Program, the BioNJ Biotechnology Training Program, and the New Jersey Utilities Association Training Program.

The Workforce Consortium, established in 2004, is a central one-stop contact that develops and delivers education and training programs to New Jersey businesses, agencies and organizations.

“The Workforce Consortium is one of our greatest successes,” Lee said. “It is because of Deputy Commissioner Fichtner’s support that our Consortium has trained over 86,000 employees at over 4,200 New Jersey businesses.”

Prior to assuming this position in January 2012, Fichtner served as the Department’s Assistant Commissioner for Labor Planning and Analysis (LPA). Under his leadership, LPA became a critical driver of policy and program decisions across the Department, as well as a key resource for policy makers and program managers in education, higher education and economic development. LPA provides economic and demographic data and analysis, performance analysis, research and policy analysis for key Department programs, oversees licensing of training providers; and provides career information to help students and workers make effective and successful career education and training choices.

Prior to joining the Department in 2010, Fichtner was the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.  In that role, he conducted extensive research on the workforce and skill needs of key industries; implemented a variety of workforce and education initiatives; and conducted evaluations of education and training programs.  He has also worked in the field of economic development in Jersey City, New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia.

Fichtner earned his Ph.D. in planning and public policy at Rutgers University, his master’s degree in city planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.A. in history from Vassar College.  He lives in Lawrence Township.

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is the voice of the community college sector before the state legislature and other branches of government. The Council is also the state coordinating organization for all community colleges in New Jersey.

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