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NJ Community Colleges Showcase Outstanding Students

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As part of National Community College Month, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) – the state association for New Jersey’s 19 community colleges – launched the New Jersey Community Colleges Voices of Opportunity, a weekly social media campaign and e-newsletter that highlights outstanding students who attend New Jersey’s 19 community colleges.

“Community colleges play a significant role building a better future for New Jersey’s residents, as our community colleges provide associate degree and certificate programs for over 325,000 students throughout the state,” said Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D., NJCCC president. “The examples that our New Jersey Community College Voices of Opportunity set inspire other students to be successful, and illustrate first-hand the value of community colleges to our state.”

Follow the New Jersey Community Colleges Voices of Opportunity on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn using @NJCommColleges, or by using the hashtag #NJCommColleges. To subscribe to the New Jersey Community Colleges Voices of Opportunity e-newsletter, please send a request to

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is a resource that strengthens and supports the state’s 19 community colleges.

Here are just some of the many students at SCCC that will be highlighted in the New Jersey Council promotions!

Name: Benjamin Armstrong
Hometown: Wantage, NJ

Coming out of high school I knew that I did not want bury myself in debt. I was given the opportunity to attend Sussex County Community College on the NJ STARS program which seemed like the perfect fit for me. I was able to take my general education classes, stay close to home, and continue my athletic career, all for the perfect price. These basic factors really made the decision easy on me.
Sussex has provided me with the taste of college life and a quality education that I can build off of. The most glaring opportunity has just been a chance to establish a foundation towards achieving my lifelong goals. Sussex has provided me with an education I can continue to pursue, new friends to network with as time moves forward, a feeling for what the college experience is all about, and a chance to prove myself as a student. This opportunity is really invaluable. Without a foundation it is tough to really build any structure. Now that I have gained that experience and foundation, the challenges ahead will be met with full confidence and a drive to continue to succeed. These hometown college roots are something I will cherish forever and carry with me as I go.
After completing my education in Sports Management, I see myself earning first-hand experience in the field. It is my hope that I will be working in sporting event planning or even a front-office job in the sports industry, and I think that goal is absolutely obtainable. I am open to wherever life takes me, but my desire and beliefs are that I will be working to make an impact in not only the sports industry, but on the daily lives of others as well.
As I mentioned previously, Sussex County Community College has helped establish a foundation to build off of. In a literal sense, they have provided me with the chance to complete my general education requirements and the financial affordability to explore many distinguished schools, but what is more important is that Sussex has given me the confidence to succeed in any walk of life. By having that foundation, I am comfortable to explore any challenge ahead knowing that I have a basis to rely on.

Name: Laura Allen
Hometown: Stanhope, NJ

I started at Sussex in the fall of 2016 and wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. Sussex gave me the opportunity to try different courses which helped me to decide on my major in elementary education.

Being at a community college really gave me so many opportunities to get more involved. I was able to become a Student SOAR Leader, a PTK Officer and a recipient of the Robert Sydney Needham Memorial Scholarship; all of these opportunities helped me to open up and branch out. Being a bit shy, this also helped me to meet new people and new friends. I met my best friend at SCCC.

How has the community college made that future possible? My grades allowed me to transfer easily to my 4-year college this fall. The advisors and professors at SCCC were extremely helpful in getting me ready for transfer and throughout my education at SCCC.

I started at Sussex in the fall of 2016 and wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. Sussex gave me the opportunity to try classes out and decide on a major that fit me. I am confident in my career path and excited to further my education.


Name: William Craig-Conrad
Hometown: Newton, NJ

My reasoning behind why I attended my local community college are, I knew that going to Sussex County Community College would help me save a lot more money and can help me get my feet wet for college. After high school I actually did not want to go to college. I was actually going to serve to be a missionary for my church for two years. However, that summer of 2015, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I decided to stay home and take care of her. With that all happening, I thought it would be a better idea to stay close to home.

While being here at Sussex, I can honestly say that so many opportunities were presented to me and I’m glad that I took them. Like I said, I didn’t want to come to college, so I wanted to be your ordinary kid who just went to class, walked back to my car and drove home. Until I met my best friend in my Foundations course, Phil Andujar. In the way that I like to put it – Phil came into my life when all I wanted to do was drop out of college and take care of my family. However, he introduced me to so many engaging activities at Sussex that allowed me to become more open. I became more engaged because of the kind of person Phil was plus he showed me all that Sussex had to offer. All these opportunities that came my way allowed me to see an overall goal that I had for my life, which was, to connect with people who might need help and be a conduit for positivity.

In five years, I see myself finishing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Rutgers Newark. Hopefully starting my master’s program as well.

I can honestly say, being here at Sussex, not only made me a better student, it made me a better man. It also made me a better human being and with being involved on campus, it gave me the tools to be involved more in my home life as well. Sussex was the best decision I have made in my life so far and I full heartedly recommend my community college, or any community college, as a starting point for those that are unsure of what they want to do in life. Sussex County Community College saved my life and I am forever grateful for all the great people that made my dream a reality.


Free college prep courses prepare students for college

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High school seniors who are attending Sussex County Community College this fall or high school juniors are being offered free courses to prepare them for college in the fall.  

The College Readiness IV Bootcamp is a college prep course that helps students sharpen their English or algebra skills to help them avoid taking developmental courses in the fall. Students must have already taken the Accuplacer (Placement) Test at SCCC to participate. The English and algebra Workshops will be held May 21 through June 18 from 4-7pm in the Administration Building (B) on the SCCC campus. Algebra with Foundations will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays and English will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Seating is limited for all classes.  All necessary materials are included with these free workshops.

For more information on the College Readiness IV Bootcamp courses, please contact Kathleen Carr at (973) 300-2155 or email her at  

SPT offers grant-funded Training classes

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Skylands Professional Training, a partnership of Sussex County Community College and Warren County Community College, is proud to announce the availability of grant-funded classes and  for employees of NJ-based businesses and organizations, including small business owner-operators. This program, a partnership between the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), the State’s community colleges and the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, makes this grant-funded training opportunity available. Dates are subject to change

The following courses are being offered at Sussex County Community College:

It’s Not What You’re Saying, It’s How You’re Saying It
April 24 & 25, registration deadline is April 19.
Improve your business’s customer service by learning proven techniques to communicate more effectively with your customer. Learn how empathy, reframing and rephrasing the customer’s request can lead to a more positive outcome.

Take Control of Your To Do List
May 22 & 23, registration deadline is May 15.
Take control over a to do list with time management techniques that can be put into effect immediately. Setting priorities, controlling project scope, setting goals and avoiding procrastination will be covered.

All participants MUST be registered prior to the first class day. To register contact
Dawn Smith, Project Specialist, 973-300-2316 or email

For further information additional scheduling, and eligibility requirements please go to

Certified Fiber Optics Networking Classes offered

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Sussex County Community College, in partnership with BDI DataLynk and Warren County Community College, is offering Certified Fiber Optics Technician (CFOT) and Certified Fiber Optics Specialist in Testing and Maintenance (CFOS/T) courses in July. Both courses are recognized by The US Department of Labor and sanctioned by the Fiber Optic Association (FOA) to offer an unprecedented opportunity to learn about fiber optics networking through an internationally recognized fiber optics training company.

These classes, which will be held at SCCC and are part of Skylands Professional Training with WCCC, are expected to fill up quickly, so interested individuals are encouraged to register early.

Certified Fiber Optics Technician (CFOT)
This 3-day* introductory course explores the theory and history of fiber optics data transmission and is designed for anyone wanting to become certified in the basic installation, troubleshooting and testing techniques of installed fiber optics networks as required per industry standards. This program includes 85% hands-on activities by allowing you to build and test your own fiber optics network. Certification Exams are administered and graded at the end of the session. Monday thru Wednesday, July 9– 11, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The Registration Deadline is June 25.

Certified Fiber Optics Specialist in Testing & Maintenance (CFOS/T)
This comprehensive 2-day* program explains the variety of testing standards, equipment, and technological approaches used in fiber network testing and maintenance and how to choose among them. This course is 85% hands-on and includes a detailed study of fiber network testing and troubleshooting procedures, OTDR fundamentals and uses, OTDR vs. Insertion Loss Testing, Return Loss Testing, and Attenuation testing using the Power Source and Light Meter. Certification Exams are administered and graded at the end of the session.
Thursday and Friday, July 12 & 13, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The Registration Deadline is June 25.

For more on this Fiber Optics program, or a full listing of courses and programs offered through Skylands Professional Training, call 908-835-4029, or visit

Nielsen Automotive partners with SCCC

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The Nielsen Automotive Group, a six dealership automotive franchise with stores located throughout northern New Jersey, and Sussex County Community College (SCCC), have recently announced a partnership to provide on-site, hands-on training for qualified students enrolled in the College’s Automotive Services program. Through this partnership, students will be placed at a Nielsen dealership location and will be given the opportunity to shadow experienced service technicians, enabling them to better apply their knowledge and better hone their individual skills. In order to build a strong connection between the importance of a college education and on-site dealership training, students will be provided with corresponding course curriculum at Sussex County Community College. Furthermore, in an effort to prepare students for after college, they will be required to interview with the dealerships’ Service Manager, and will be required to complete certification tests to meet all brand specifications. Once students complete the program (should they complete all certification tests and perform in accordance with dealership and college standards) they will be provided an offer for employment at one of Nielsen’s dealerships.

Regarding the forward-thinking partnership, Bill Snouffer, General Manager for the Nielsen Automotive Group, states, “We are super excited about our partnership with SCCC.  It is an honor to participate in furthering the education of these young men and women, and we are truly looking forward to offering them employment opportunities at one our locations in the near future.”

Ultimately, through the introduction of this partnership, the Nielsen Automotive Group and Sussex County Community College hope to prepare the youth of tomorrow with the proper education and learning environments, to become experts in their field today.

For more information about the Automotive Services Technology degree or certificate program at SCCC, contact Jason Fruge at 973.300. 2256 or email

Business Courses target entrepreneurs

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Professional training courses being offered at Sussex County Community College will give business entrepreneurs an opportunity to begin their careers with a boost. The courses are being offered through Skylands Professional Training.

The Skylands Professional Training (SPT) initiative is a cooperative agreement between Sussex County Community College and Warren County Community College.

In addition, various other courses are offered that can benefit individuals in other fields of employment.

Some of the professional training courses focus on those planning business careers, specific to entrepreneurs.

One training program, running most of a semester, is in Computerized Accounting, appropriate for entrepreneurs. The course starts with classes in MS Windows, Word and Excel and moves into basic accounting principles and QuickBooks Pro with class assignments based on actual workplace projects. It covers accounts payable and receivable, general ledger, payroll, financial statements and other accounting practices. Also included will be advice on writing a resume and other job search training.

A ServSafe® Manager course allows participants to earn the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute. This course is ideal for current employees of dining establishments who are either managers now, or employees wishing to obtain the certification in anticipation of being considered for a new position in the future.
Commercial Drivers’ License classes for both A and B class licenses are scheduled as well.  Individuals who complete these courses are thusly provided with everything he or she needs to successfully pass the CDL driver’s exam and be eligible for employment immediately.

“We have specifically highlighted some courses that would be particularly of interest to entrepreneurs,” said Kathleen Peterson, director of marketing at SCCC. “Starting out on one’s own business is not easy. These courses are designed to help that person get a head start.”

Entrepreneurial Courses that are helpful to business owners include:

  • “Establishing a Web Presence for Your Business” aims at small business owners who wish to establish an initial web presence by setting up a website and an effective social media profile.
  • “Building Your Holistic or Earth-Centered Business. ”  This half-day class is  directed at those who are interested in starting a practice in holistic health but are not experienced in running a business and will answer common questions posed by these rookie business owners.
  • “Time Management to Increase Productivity and Live the Life You Want.” It is designed for the solo entrepreneur or small business owner “to learn how to transform your to-do list into manageable areas of focus,” and increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.

For those looking for a job in a growing field, SPT will offer a unique 48-hour pet grooming class based on standards set by the American Kennel Club in the summer.

These are just some of the business related programs offered through Sklyands Professional Training at Sussex County Community College. Additional courses are also offered on the Warren CCC campus.  For a detailed list of courses and more information on all of the courses, fees and course schedules, visit

Jobs aplenty in healthcare fields as SCCC takes the lead

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Employment opportunities in the health care fields are growing rapidly and Sussex County Community College, as part of Skylands Professional Training (SPT), is preparing students to meet the demands.

Warren and Sussex County Community College’s partnership has been bringing certificate and non-credit programs to the community for the past year and a half with new programs beginning for the spring semester of 2018.

And the health care fields are not limited to helping humans. Courses offered at SCCC also offer opportunities for those wanting to care for animals as well.

Among the courses offered in the SPT program is the Pharmacy Technician career track, preparing students for work in retail pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities and clinics, as well as in other facilities. Students who did well in math and science in high school would be successful in this program. The course educates the student on how to prepare and dispense medicine in this burgeoning field. Upon completion of the course students will be prepared to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam.

The opportunity to help animals is also offered through SPT. The coursework of 100 hours goes toward the goal of becoming a Veterinary Assistant. The course includes classroom lectures and hands on labs (but not the clinical rotation that would be necessary before obtaining state certification). It provides instruction in such areas as assisting with veterinary procedures, surgery and basic animal care. Students will also learn lab tests, how to take medical history, assisting with patient education and many other aspects of working in a veterinary office.

Other technician-preparation courses offered at SCCC include EKG Technician, Phlebotomy Technician and Dialysis Technician. Students in health care may also be interested in taking the Basic Life Support CPR course. This includes CPR for adults, children and infants, clearing of the airway, use of an AED and participating in a team rescue.

In addition to these professional career courses, SPT offers a Wilderness First Aid course designed for people who work in or travel to remote locations, a Heartsaver Pedicatric First Aid CPR AED for child care providers and an Emergency Medical Responder course.

These are just some of the healthcare related fields offered through SPT at Sussex County Community College. Additional courses are offered on the Warren County Community College campus.  For a detailed list of all of the courses, fees and course schedules, visit

SPT offers grant-funded employee training

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Skylands Professional Training is proud to announce the availability of grant-funded training for employees of NJ-based businesses and organizations, including small business owner-operators, in Sussex County.

This grant-funded program, a partnership between the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), the State’s community colleges and the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, makes this training opportunity available. Skylands Professional Training is a cooperative program between Sussex County and Warren County community colleges.

Programs offered for the spring include:

Excel 1 – Excel Essentials
March 13 and March 14
(Registration Deadline: March 5)
This course if participants who are new Excel. Course content includes entering data, basic Excel formulas and functions, formatting a worksheet to make it easy to read, as well as printing.  In class practice will be explored with additional tips and techniques on using Excel more efficiently.

Excel 2 – Advanced Excel Formatting and Tables
April 10 and April 11 (Registration Deadline: April 2)
Participants who know Excel formulas but need to learn more about Excel’s advanced features, this courses can help. Topics in this course will cover logical, date and time, and text functions as well as tables for managing lists of information. Hands on practice will allow participants to try these formulas.

It’s Not What You’re Saying, It’s How You’re Saying It
April 24 and April 25
(Registration Deadline: April 19)
Improve customer service by learning these techniques on how to communicate more effectively with customers. Learn how empathy, reframing and rephrasing the customer’s request can lead to a more positive outcome.

Take Control of Your To Do List
May 22 and May 23
((Registration Deadline: May 15)
Take control over a to do list with time management techniques that can be put into effect immediately. Setting priorities, controlling project scope, setting goals and avoiding procrastination will be covered.

All classes are held at Sussex County Community College. For a full class schedule and eligibility requirements please go to  All participants MUST be registered prior to the first class day. To register contact Maija Amaro, Workforce & Industry Training Specialist, at or by phone at (908) 835-4029.

Hilbert breaks game scoring record at SCCC

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There’s something special happening on the basketball court at Sussex County Community College this winter, and the fun is just beginning.

Brielle Hilbert, the point guard on the Lady Skylanders hoop team, has been shattering scoring records right and left and has been leading the charge as the women’s team is off to its own record-setting season. It takes 5 to win, but clearly, Hilbert is the straw that is stirring the drink for SCCC this season.

The team’s leading scorer, Hilbert recently broke the school record for points in a game for women AND men by scoring 50 points on Dec. 9. That record-breaking performance eclipsed Hilbert’s own record that she had set two weeks prior when she scored 46. The 50 points broke Steve Pappas’ record of 49 points in a game, set way back in 1988. It is clear as can be that Hilbert will soon enough crack the 1000 point career scoring barrier, setting yet another standard for women’s basketball at SCCC. 

The 5-foot-4 Hilbert may not be big by basketball standards, but her game is BIG. And she’s getting plenty of attention not just in Sussex County, but throughout the state. The sophomore education major from Franklin has heard from several college scouts in New Jersey.  Most recently, a scout from Fairleigh Dickinson University watched her in action at a home game against Brookdale Community College. After the game he spent time with her to talk about opportunities at FDU. She’s also heard from Kean University and Stockton University. As word continues to spread about Hilbert’s exploits, there be may others calling before long. 

“It’s nice to be noticed (by the schools),” said Hilbert humbly. “It’s kind of fun.”

Hilbert, whose average of nearly 28 points a game is second in the state in Division III, is “weighing the options.” Some of those options might include scholarships.

“Brielle is extremely talented,” said SCCC coach Kaitlyn Gaffney. “She’s a really hard worker. She never gives up. She’s got the kind of attitude that any coach would love to have. And she’s a true leader. Brielle inspires the other girls.”

Hilbert is smooth on offense, almost deceitfully so, as she maneuvers her way down court with precision. She is constantly in motion, with or without the ball. Give her an inch behind the 3-point line and she’ll make you pay.  

“I work hard to create shots (for myself),” Hilbert said. “It’s all about creating shooting opportunities.”

Yet she respects her teammates big time, and isn’t afraid to pass the ball to an open player with a better shot. 

This isn’t the first taste of success for Hilbert. At Wallkill Valley High School (WVHS), she was the first girl to top 1000 career points and in the process broke the school record for 3-point goals.  This, despite knee surgery after her junior year and a broken wrist that kept her out of action for a month in her senior year. She fully recovered from both injuries.

“Brielle had many accomplishments in basketball throughout her high school career,” stated Ed Paiva, former WVHS women’s basketball coach. “I am fortunate to have coached such a special player. But as a coach, I think her most outstanding achievement is that she is a great teammate and wonderful person. I look forward to her future success on and off the court.”

In addition to her offensive skills, Hilbert is equally adept on defense. She leads the team in steals and usually defends against the opponent’s best player.

“I take pride in my defense,” she said. “I don’t let my opponent get off easily.” 

As a team, SCCC struggled in Hilbert’s freshman year, but this year it’s been a totally different story.

“It’s been a great season so far,” said Hilbert, who wants to become a teacher, and in time, a coach. “Not just about me and the scoring records, but for the team.”

Indeed, this is shaping up as the winningest season ever for SCCC, and hopes Hilbert, a trip to the playoffs for the first time in school history. With Hilbert leading the way, all goals are on the table.

Currently, the Lady Skylanders Basketball Team set the school record for wins in a season with their 8th win this year.

Women’s Basketball Team SETS RECORD

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On Thursday evening, December 21, the Lady Skylander Basketball Team set the school record for wins in a season with their 8th win! Their opponent was over rival County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ  by a score of 66-43.

The ladies were once again led by Brielle Hilbert (Franklin, NJ) with 24 points followed by Keeley McGregor (Wantage, NJ) with 17 and Brenley Knakkergaard (Branchville, NJ) with 13. Hannah-Ray Delbury (Wantage, NJ) chipped in with 8 points and controlled the boards.  The women will now enjoy a well-deserved break as they finished the first half of their season with an 8-6 overall record. Congratulations to the coaching staff and the team.  The women will return to action on January 9, 2018, at home vs Ocean CC at 5 pm.