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Gottheimer joins roundtable to close north jersey job skills gap, expand STEM opportunities

NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County) – U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), along with Sussex County Community College (SCCC), Thorlabs, and New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, hosted a roundtable on Tuesday to discuss ongoing cooperation to close the middle-skill jobs gap in North Jersey, to identify federal investment opportunities to expand STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) training, and to continue the public-private partnerships supporting SCCC’s optics technology programs.

Sussex County Community College recently established a new optical technology certificate program, with support from local technology leaders in producing curriculum and recruiting interested applicants. Discussions at today’s roundtable focused on expanding the talent pipeline for optical technology jobs and their national security applications. 

“Coming together for these crucial discussions is foundational for making sure North Jersey and its workforce can adapt to the demands of businesses of all sizes in 2020 and in the future,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “One of the great challenges of our time and in our community, for me, is protecting and creating good-paying jobs in every sector of the economy. Schools of all types, but especially vocational and technical schools, are essential to training the workforce and the citizens of tomorrow. We’re incredibly blessed here in North Jersey to have some of the best schools and teachers in the country, including here at Sussex County Community College — and especially with the Optics Technology associate degree SCCC now offers.”

“We need to continue making sure the right connections are being made between our schools, our employers, with public-private partnerships, and with federal grant and investment opportunities. We also need to continue making sure that the skill-sets being taught in our schools and are the skill-sets that businesses are looking for,” Gottheimer said.

Gottheimer was joined at Tuesday’s roundtable by SCCC President Dr. Jon Connolly, Inrad Optics CEO Amy Eskilson, Thorlabs Director of Optics Paul Melone, Thorlabs CNC Manager Navid Entezarian, Jamie La Couture of Thorlabs Community Relations, NY Photonics Director Tom Battley, Judith Fleischer of NJMEP, and Peter Russo of NJMEP.

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Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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