Leaders from New Jersey’s Community Colleges Brief Members of Congress on Key Priorities

NJ Community College Presidents, Trustees, and Students Participate in the Community College National Legislative Summit

Washington, D.C. – Sixty-five leaders from 14 of New Jersey’s Community Colleges, including presidents, trustees, alumni, student leaders, and staff from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges participated in the annual Association of Community College Trustees National Legislative Summit (ACCT-NLS) in Washington, DC., February 4-7, 2024.  This national summit brings together more than 1,000 community college leaders to discuss the federal higher education legislative landscape with members of Congress, Administration officials, the National Governors Association, and other national policy makers.

New Jersey’s community college leaders met with members of Congress and their staff to brief them on the essential and innovative work of community colleges across the state and to discuss the important federal investments and programs that are critical to the colleges and their students. Community college students and recent alumni were a key part of these meetings. New Jersey’s team also briefed members of Congress and their staff on the Council’s recently developed Opportunity Agenda: Building Pathways to Equity and Economic Prosperity which serves as a new shared commitment to action and novel policies and innovations that respond to this time of complex and rapid change.

“Each of our students and recent alumni did an amazing job sharing their personal stories with our New Jersey Congressional Delegation,” said Sheetal Ranjan, Chair of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC). “They demonstrated why Federal support for community colleges is critical to our state’s future.”

“We greatly appreciate the support of our state’s Congressional Delegation and applaud their commitment to working together to expand federal investment in our students and our colleges. We particularly appreciate the support they voiced for the expansion of the Pell Grant program and for the role of community colleges in workforce development,” said Dr. Aaron Fichtner, NJCCC President.

In addition to the meetings with members of Congress and their staff, highlights of the Washington, DC trip included:

  • On Sunday, February 4th, members of the New Jersey community college team visited the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Museum for a guided tour of the exhibitions.
  • On Monday, February 5th, Dr. Cecilia Rouse, President of the Brookings Institution, engaged in an interactive fireside chat with community college leaders facilitated by NJCCC’s Chief Innovation and Policy Officer Maria Heidkamp. Dr Rouse shared thoughts on a wide range of issues impacting community colleges from GenAi, climate change, academic integrity, geopolitics, and diversity and equity efforts.
  • On Tuesday, February 6th, Jennifer Mishory, First Lady Jill Biden’s workforce policy advisor, shared insights on the critical role of community colleges across the country and in New Jersey.
NLS 2024

Check out the event photos!

About the New Jersey Council of County Colleges

Governed by the presidents and trustees of the state’s 18 community colleges and enshrined in state law, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) supports New Jersey’s Community Colleges and the more than 230,000 students they serve annually across 49 locations by fostering collaboration and developing solutions that expand access to college, promote equity and student success, and create a skilled workforce to drive economic growth.

NJCCC brings together the state’s Community Colleges to build a world-class, flexible higher education and workforce development system that can respond to the needs of local communities and employers while having statewide reach and impact. NJCCC promotes innovation and policy changes to help New Jersey’s Community Colleges in their efforts to achieve academic, social, and economic mobility for all residents. The Council’s New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development builds statewide industry, education, and labor partnerships that align education and training with the needs of a changing economy.

To learn more about NJCCC and New Jersey’s Community Colleges, go to www.njcommunitycolleges.org. Follow us @NJCommColleges on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to learn more about our latest programs and initiatives.