NJCCC President Aaron Fichtner and Vice President Catherine Frugé Starghill Named to 2023 NJBIZ Education Power 50 List

October 10, 2023, Hamilton, NJ The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) is proud to announce that its President, Aaron R. Fichtner, PhD., and its Vice President, Catherine Frugé Starghill, Esq., have been named to the 2023 NJBIZ Education Power 50 List. This is their second consecutive appearance on this list.

NJBIZ Reporter Jeffrey Kanige says the 2023 NJBIZ Education Power List was compiled “based on our reporting throughout the last year with input from experts in a variety of fields and recommendations from our readers. The staff looks for people who have gained public attention – and perhaps acclaim – for their professional accomplishments and public service. Each list identifies individuals who, through their efforts, are helping to make New Jersey a better place to live, work, and do business.” Others on the 2023 Education Power 50 List include: New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges, County College of Morris President Tony Iacono, Middlesex College President Mark McCormick, Union College of Union County, NJ President Margaret McMenamin, and Hudson County Community College President Chris Reber.

In their leadership roles at NJCCC, Fichtner and Starghill spearheaded the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities Initiative, which brings together industry and education partners to form an education ecosystem that is connected statewide and is guided by industry leaders to build an innovative workforce in the Garden State. During the first year, this cutting-edge initiative connected and enhanced 22 education and training pathways within the four fastest-growing industries in the state to propel our economy to new heights. Now in its second year, NJ Pathways has more than 1,200 industry and education partners statewide.

“Aaron and Catherine are well-respected thought leaders in education in New Jersey and the nation. After witnessing and being actively involved in NJ Pathways – a transformational initiative leading the way in the alignment of workforce and education – I am not surprised that both these exemplary individuals and friends of mine have been named to the 2023 NJBIZ Education Power List 50. I am confident that students are in the very best of hands with these two at the helm,” said Mary M. Zimmermann, NJCCC Chair.

“We are proud to be named to the NJBIZ Education Power 50 list in New Jersey. We are grateful that NJ Pathways is resonating with businesses, educators, and students, and we look forward to further adding education and training pathways to our educational system that will make New Jersey the most competitive state in the nation,” said Fichtner.

“Congratulations to my fellow awardees, which include many of our colleagues in the New Jersey Community College sector. I am very proud of our accomplishments working together, particularly with NJ Pathways, that has been a catalyst for much-needed progress and change to strengthen our workforce with the alignment of education to propel our economy,” said Starghill.

Prior to becoming President of NJCCC in 2018, Fichtner served as the Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL), where he had previously served as the Department’s Deputy Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner for Research and Information. Fichtner also served as Chair of the National Association of State Liaisons for Workforce Development Partnerships, a workforce development affiliate of the National Governors Association. Before joining the Department of Labor, he was the Director of Research and Evaluation at Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

Prior to joining NJCCC, Starghill served as Fichner’s Deputy Commissioner at NJDOL. She led many of the Department’s program areas including Research and Information, Income Security, and Labor Standards and Safety Enforcement. She previously served as Executive Director of Workforce Operations and Business Services at NJDOL where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the One-Stop Career Centers and the integrated business outreach of workforce field staff with other state and local workforce partners. In that role, she was responsible for more than 300 employees and a $45 million budget. Prior to joining the NJDOL, Starghill was the Acting Director of the Division of Housing and Community Resources and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

About the New Jersey Council of County Colleges

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) was created in 1989 to support and promote New Jersey’s 18 Community Colleges. The Community Colleges now enroll more than 180,000 people each year in credit, non-credit, and workforce development courses at more than 70 campuses throughout the state.

The primary goal of New Jersey’s 18 Community Colleges is to meet the ever-changing educational needs of our great state’s residents. Today, through more than 1,700 degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit courses and customized workforce training programs, New Jersey Community Colleges are helping more students than ever. Further, equity and access priorities are advanced every day with over half of the total undergraduate enrollment in New Jersey Community Colleges coming from minority and traditionally underrepresented populations.

The New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development is a subsidiary of NJCCC. The Consortium brings together the Community Colleges as a collective to provide workforce development training.

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