Hudson County Community College President Invited to Join Nationwide Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF)

October 18, 2023

Dr. Christopher Reber Becomes the First Community College President to Join the National Nonprofit Organization that Engages College Presidents and Corporate CEOs to Educate and Train a Diverse Workforce.


October 18, 2023, Jersey City, NJ – Hudson County Community College (HCCC) President, Dr. Christopher Reber, is honored to join the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), becoming the first traditional community college president invited to join the nationwide organization that also includes Miami Dade College, an expansive institution that offers associate and baccalaureate degrees.

BHEF is a nonprofit organization that connects higher education presidents and major corporate CEOs to educate a skilled and diverse workforce needed to advance national priorities.  Corporate CEOs and university presidents join BHEF to anticipate skills needs and create pathways between higher education and leading employers. BHEF has fostered dozens of business-higher education partnerships and created over 100 credentials to date.


HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber participating in a fireside chat with Laura K. Ipsen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ellucian and Vice Chair, BHEF Board of Directors.

HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber participating in a fireside chat with Laura K. Ipsen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ellucian and Vice Chair, BHEF Board of Directors.

In recent years, concern has grown that there is a widening disconnect between the skills employers are looking for and the skill sets that jobseekers possess. There is also concern that education doesn’t always lead to high-paying jobs, as what students learn isn’t always aligned with the training and knowledge that employers require for success on the job.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Reber and HCCC and welcome them as a member of BHEF,” said BHEF Chair and Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “HCCC is committed to preparing diverse communities for success in today’s dynamic labor market, and their perspective as one of the nation’s leading community colleges will be of tremendous value to the organization as we build more pathways to career readiness for students.”

As a community college serving over 20,000 credit and noncredit students annually in one of the most diverse and densely populated communities in the United States, the mission of closing the opportunity gap and building the diverse workforce of tomorrow is near and dear to HCCC’s heart. The College is acutely focused on breaking down barriers and expanding the career pathways available to members of the traditionally underrepresented populations in the community that it serves. HCCC places paramount importance on the interwoven goals of student success and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. The entire College community is galvanized around these two priorities.

HCCC and BHEF are squarely aligned in this mission of closing the gap, creating seamless educational pathways, expanding career pathways to all, and building a diverse, inclusive, and highly skilled workforce. The challenges are immense, but so is the opportunity to transform the lives of citizens from marginalized and underserved groups and diversify our nation’s skilled workforce in areas like STEM, technology, business and beyond. In recent years, HCCC has worked assiduously to develop credentialed workforce training that leads to upward social and economic mobility, and family-sustaining careers for students and members of the community.

Under Dr. Reber’s leadership, HCCC has made significant progress in addressing these challenges and unlocking greater opportunities. HCCC’s offerings lead to industry-recognized credentials and pathways to baccalaureate and graduate degrees that equip students with the skills they need to succeed and lead organizations and communities in a variety of fulfilling and lucrative careers.

HCCC forges innovative partnerships with local businesses and other organizations to identify the in-demand skills that employers desire. A shining example of this collaborative approach is the Holz Technik Academy Apprenticeship program, an innovative collaboration of HCCC and local business Eastern Millwork, Inc. This partnership offers students the opportunity to earn a competitive salary and benefits while working as apprentices at EMI and earning their degree. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently praised the program as the blueprint for the state’s economic future.

HCCC is equipping students for the future with new programs in emerging industries such as data science, construction management, and a National Security Agency (NSA)-certified cybersecurity program. The College’s innovative programming and bevy of meaningful partnerships make it an onramp to exciting and family-sustaining career and educational pathways for students from all walks of life.

President Reber recently joined other leaders of Hispanic Serving Institutions to meet with United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, where he outlined his bold vision to create a semiconductor manufacturing center at the College, and to create customized workforce development programs that align with the needs of the high-tech industry. Consultants like McKinsey expect global semiconductor spending to reach $1 trillion annually by the end of the decade, and the industry requires highly-skilled workers, so Dr. Reber’s vision would help create lucrative career pathways for students while ensuring that U.S. semiconductor manufacturers have the skilled workers they need to stay on the leading edge of this dynamic and critically-important industry.

BHEF’s membership includes a mix of leading technology companies, consultants, and high-tech manufacturers, including Google, Amazon Web Services, Wiley, Ellucian, Accenture, S&P Global, Boeing and more. On the higher-education side, HCCC joins a multitude of highly ranked and prestigious colleges and universities from across the country, including Columbia University, Georgetown University, Howard University, California Polytechnic State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and others. Dr. Reber states that “As open access institutions, community colleges collectively serve as the gateway to the American Dream for millions of Americans, so we are at the forefront of closing the skills gap. We are honored to stand alongside leading corporations and postsecondary institutions, collectively dedicated to transforming lives and shaping a more inclusive, skilled, and prosperous workforce for all.”

Nationwide challenges such as closing the opportunity and skills gaps require bold approaches where various stakeholders work together towards a common goal. Dr. Reber looks forward to joining BHEF and its dedicated members to contribute solutions to these challenges, bridge the gaps, expand career opportunities for all, and create transformative change for the communities we serve.