Public 2-Year Schools

Rowan College at Gloucester County’s Stacking Credentials Add up to Meet Employment Demands

Higher education and business are “stacking the deck” in New Jersey thanks to the Rowan Work & Learn Consortium, a new initiative unveiled at a Statehouse press conference in October, that addresses college affordability while meeting employment demands within the local job market.

Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) and Rowan University are working in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, along with Gloucester County’s Chamber of Commerce, Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Economic Development and the Gloucester County Institute of Technology to launch this new, customizable approach to higher education that produces graduates ready to be hired within high-demand positions. Bringing together vocational schools, county colleges, four-year universities and local businesses, State Senate President Steve Sweeney plans to introduce legislation that would establish programs similar to Work & Learn. The Consortium aligns with the “65 by 25” campaign, increasing the percentage of those within the State’s workforce who have a post-secondary degree by 2025.

“This unique and creative partnership serves as a model for how our community colleges should be working with our state institutions to create alternative pathways for students,” said Sweeney. “It addresses several critical issues, including the affordability of a college education, access to a four-year degree program, vocational skills and workforce preparation. This approach is consistent with our commitment to vocational education and workforce development and can serve as a model for others in New Jersey.”

To read more stories about RCGC, scroll down:

Engineering Internship Provides RCGC Grad Career in STEM Degree and Work Experience
RCGC’s Cooperative Education Program Voted ‘Best of Biz’ for Third Consecutive Year
Advance Your Human Resources Career to the Next Level at RCGC

The Rowan Work & Learn Consortium was created in direct response to the State’s campaign to accelerate the pace of establishing a skilled labor workforce for employment positions needing to be filled within New Jersey. The areas to be addressed include: Advanced Manufacturing; Financial Services; Transportation, Logistics & Distribution; Biopharmaceutical Life Sciences; Construction Management; Health Care; and Hospitality, Retail & Tourism.

Rowan Work & Learn represents the first packaged consortium between a two-year college and a four-year university in the state of New Jersey. What makes this initiative distinct is the concept of two partnering, higher-education institutions stacking industry-valued credentials to allow students to become marketable faster and provide flexibility for “stop out” points if necessary. Each academic year completed will result in credentials verified by industry leaders as well as the Workforce Development Board of Gloucester County and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. All academic paths included in the Consortium will support an industry-specific certification, an associate degree, a certificate of undergraduate study and culminate in a bachelor’s degree.

“The Rowan Work & Learn Consortium will not only help to prepare our graduates with the education, experience and credentials they need to enter a high-demand field, but it will strengthen our local workforce by making it easier and more rewarding for our talented students to remain in the state after graduation,” stated RCGC President Frederick Keating.

This new program offers a perfect opportunity for both traditional and non-traditional students alike. Traditional college students benefit from accumulating industry-valued credentials enabling them to begin working within their desired career long before graduation. High school students, who may have previously considered going directly into the workforce after graduation and not attending college, can now pursue programs in an industry with future educational growth. Non-traditional students can take advantage of prior learning assessments that award college credit for previous work experience. Paid internship opportunities further prepare students to work within their chosen field.

RCGC will provide the first two years of coursework, with the second two supplied by Rowan University. All of the Work & Learn courses will be offered on RCGC’s campus or online. An advisor assigned to work with the students will ensure they remain on the right academic path and are placed in the internship that best prepares them for their future career.

RCGC alumna Sarah Leinenbach with STEM Dean Brenden Rickards.

Engineering Internship Provides RCGC Grad Career Opportunity in STEM Degree and Work Experience

Delsea Regional High School graduate Sarah Leinenbach’s decision to work hard in college and study computer science proved to be a life-altering decision. Today, the RCGC alumna is working full time at Lockheed Martin in Moorestown as an associate member of the engineering staff in the radar modeling and simulation group.

In June 2015, Leinenbach was approached about a part-time, paid internship at the global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company. Leinenbach welcomed the experience.

“That internship changed my life,” said Leinenbach. “I have learned so much working at Lockheed Martin during the last two years.”

The first person in her immediate family to earn a four-year degree, Leinenbach did it while accumulating less than $10,000 of debt. After the NJ STAR graduated from RCGC with honors, she transferred to Wilmington University for a bachelor’s degree in Software Development and Design.

Thanks to a partnership agreement between the two institutions, she was able to keep college costs down by taking Wilmington courses online and in the evening on the RCGC campus, allowing her to continue the internship and work 25-hours a week.

Leinenbach fondly recalls her time at RCGC and credits the decision to pursue a degree with helping her to mature. Now the successful grad wants to become an advocate for other students and encourage them to earn STEM degrees too.

“It was my goal to get a degree, then a job — and it worked.”

Andrea Zane of South Jersey Biz presents RCGC’s Dr. Candice Racite with the “Best of Biz” award for the College’s Cooperative Education program.

RCGC’s Cooperative Education Program Voted ‘Best of Biz’ for Third Consecutive Year

Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) can be found within the pages of South Jersey Biz magazine yet again – this time for their Cooperative Education program. The program has been voted the top cooperative education program in the South Jersey region by the magazine’s readership for the third, consecutive year.

RCGC’s Cooperative Education program was designed to provide both academic and career readiness opportunities for students within the College’s Business Studies division.

Students who qualify to participate in the program attend a 3-credit course and are placed in a paid work experience within a field related to their career pathway. Mutually-beneficial, personalized goals are established at the outset of every placement and students are provided with in-depth training to allow them to work independently and provide a true “working world” experience. Since the program’s inception in 2013, it has provided 169 students with real world, hands-on work experience that has served to prepare them for their future careers.

“Although the program does not guarantee job placement, many of our students have been hired by their sponsoring employers at the conclusion of their experiences,” said the Cooperative Education program’s coordinator and Business Studies Instructor, Dr. Candice Racite. “In fact, approximately 40 percent of participants have been offered continued employment, which is an accomplishment which makes us very proud.”

The key to the program’s success can be found in the College’s strong partnerships with the surrounding business community. The Cooperative Education program has had 81 participating employer partners, and that number continues to grow. Long-standing partners including Bellia Workspace Solutions, Hoffler-Smith Financial Services, Liberty Tax and Newfield National Bank continue to place students in work experiences every semester since the program was first launched. 2017 has seen opportunities for Cooperative Education students continue to expand with the addition of partners including Farmers Insurance, Inspira Health Network, MBB Management, PCH Technologies, South Jersey Federal Credit Union, PostNet and UBS Financial Services.

The opportunities that Cooperative Education provides are not your typical internships. Students are mentored by employer partners and encouraged to work as autonomously as their individual situations allow. They are not fetching coffee or completing busy work. Last semester one Cooperative Education student had the opportunity to assist in the menu redesign for a popular chain restaurant while another worked behind the scenes on a CBS production set.

“The Cooperative Education program works because it benefits both students and employers,” remarked Racite. “Students learn about the expectations of the workforce and are given the opportunity to strengthen their resumes with invaluable, real-world experience. Employers have the chance to assist in the development of the future workforce and many discover their own future employees through the program. Cooperative Education provides the key to both a student’s marketability and an employer’s staffing needs.”

Advance Your Human Resources Career to the Next Level at RCGC

Human Resource Management is a highly technical field with significant job opportunities for candidates with the right credentials. In years past, it was not uncommon to find jobs within the field that did not require a post-secondary degree, but increasingly even entry-level jobs are listing a college degree as a baseline requirement. Those who have years of experience within the field can hit a road block as well, finding they cannot advance further within their careers without a degree despite their industry knowledge.

“If you are looking to advance your career options within the field of Human Resources, having a degree can be a real advantage,” said Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) Instructor and former Executive Director of Human Resources Danielle Morganti. “If you have been working within the field for years, adding a degree or SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) credential to your wealth of experience can be the leg-up you need to beat out the competition on that next promotion or job opening.”

RCGC offers a number of options for the working HR professional looking to boost their marketability and credibility. The new Online Human Resource Management program, the only one of its kind in New Jersey, puts students on the path to earning an associate degree on their own schedule and at an affordable price. A more traditional, in-classroom program is also offered for those who prefer to learn in a campus setting. For students looking to pursue a bachelor’s degree, RCGC’s partnership agreement with Wilmington University allows students to transfer seamlessly to complete their bachelor’s degree online, at Wilmington University’s New Castle, D.E. campus or at RCGC’s Deptford, N.J. campus.

A SHRM certification credential is an industry-recognized, professional distinction that is advantageous for those with and without a college degree. As of fall 2017, RCGC’s Workforce and Professional Development Center will begin offering preparatory courses for the SHRM Certified Professional and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional credential exams. The credentials are based on the current HR landscape, focusing on the competencies and knowledge valued by professionals in the field.

For companies who have managers in various departments who may need to enhance their management skills, Rowan College at Gloucester County also offers a Management Certificate of Achievement. This was designed to enhance the skills of managers who are responsible for changing or maintaining the company’s culture, understanding their legal and moral responsibilities or hiring, training and evaluating new employees.