Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to create the NJ Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships has been advanced by the Senate Higher Education Committee.
“Facilitating partnerships between the business community and higher education institutions will create game-changing opportunities for New Jersey’s workforce,” Senator Kean (R-Union, Morris, Somerset) said. “A researcher developing a new treatment would now have a direct line to a pharmaceutical company that can produce a potentially lifesaving drug. That manufacturer would go on to create jobs for numerous employees. I have no doubt that this commission will spur economic development statewide.”
Sen. Kean’s bill, S-354, establishes a commission designed to support these partnerships and maximize higher education’s role in advancing economic and workforce development. The Governor would appoint 12 members, with the Senate President, Assembly Speaker, Senate Minority Leader and Assembly Minority Leader each appointing one member. The commission’s responsibilities would include:
- Identify and support research opportunities at NJ academic institutions that can advance economic development and employment.
- Identify and support opportunities for partnerships between institutions of higher education and biotech companies to accelerate the commercialization of new therapies, drugs, and technologies.
- Make recommendations on improving the role of four-year higher education institutions, county colleges and vocational school districts in advancing the needs of the workforce.
The commission would employ an executive director and other personnel as needed. The legislation has received the support of NJBIA, NJ Chamber of Commerce, as well as multiple organizations representing New Jersey’s four-year higher education institutions and community colleges.
An identical version of S-354 has passed the Assembly. The legislation now awaits a vote by the full Senate. If signed into law, the bill would take effect immediately. The bill is among a number of Senate Republican solutions to create jobs, spur innovation and grow the economy without additional costs to taxpayers.