Program News







WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 14, 2013) – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) today announced LEED Professional Credentials have been approved for college credit through New Jersey’s State Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) initiative.  SESP is the result of an award to the NJ State Employment and Training Commission from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration to support employment growth and retention within the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

The LEED Green Associate qualifies for three college credit hours, and the LEED AP BD+C and AP O+M each qualify for five college credit hours at Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey (when earned after June 30, 2009).  The state’s New Jersey Pathways Leading Apprentices to College Education (NJ PLACE) program, which facilitated Thomas Edison State College’s review of the LEED Professional Credentials for the SESP, has identified two associate and two bachelor degree pathways at the college for LEED credential-holders wishing to use these credits toward an industry-related college degree. 

Thomas Edison State College’s programs can be accessed worldwide, so anyone who has earned one of the qualifying LEED Professional Credentials, along with several other nationally-recognized green credentials, can take advantage of this opportunity to earn college credit. Credits earned for LEED Professional Credentials are mapped to specific undergraduate degree programs at Thomas Edison State College. Students can enroll directly into one of the related degrees, use the credits as electives toward another program of study, or seek to transfer the credit to another college or university.

“Students are the next generation of leaders in the green building movement, and providing them with the opportunity to earn college credit while gaining valuable, technical knowledge is next step toward a marketplace transformed by cutting-edge green building practices,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “I applaud the efforts of Thomas Edison State College and NJ Place for giving these students the opportunity to put their education to use in a booming industry.”

This initiative showcases a growing trend in higher education to stack industry-recognized credentials into college degrees. With new jobs specifying the need for expertise in LEED, the LEED Professional Credential helps professionals stand out by increasing opportunity for employment, job stability, promotion, and now college degree attainment, while underscoring value to LEED project teams and sustainability-focused organizations.

A LEED Professional Credential signifies active participation in the green building movement and contribution of expertise to the design, construction, operations and maintenance of buildings and neighborhoods that save energy, use fewer resources, reduce pollution, and contribute to healthier environments for their occupants and the community. To learn more about LEED Professional Credentials, visit

To see the full list of qualifying certifications and for more information on the program, visit or


NJ PLACE helps State Energy Sector Partnership trainees find pathways to college;

Thomas Edison State College assesses 17 green credentials for a total 58 college credits

New Brunswick, NJ. (June 12, 2013) – Rutgers University and the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission (SETC) are excited to announce an expansion of the New Jersey Pathways Leading Apprentices to College Education (NJ PLACE) initiative.  NJ PLACE, a statewide program creating pathways from high-skill technical training to college, has announced a major expansion to integrate several nationally-recognized green credentials into the program.  This expansion is part of a larger $6 million state and federal initiative to train and educate the workforce in emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy skills.  The initiative, entitled New Jersey’s State Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) Program, is the result of an award from the United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration to the SETC to support employment growth and retention within the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy industries.  

“NJ PLACE is one part of the SETC’s plan to offer higher education opportunities to workers.  The creation of college degree pathways for green credentials awarded under the SESP grant is an incredible opportunity.  Our goal is to continue to expand college credit opportunities and the integration of additional stackable credentials into the NJ PLACE initiative,” said Michele Boronkas, Executive Director of the SETC.  To date, the program has found success working with many of the trade unions within the building and construction industry.  “The SETC will continue to develop worker credential opportunities within the Talent Advisory Councils, which focus on the seven key industries in New Jersey:  Health Care, Life Science, TLD, Financial Services, Technology & Entrepreneurship, Advanced Manufacturing, and Retail, Leisure & Hospitality,” notes Boronkas.

NJ PLACE utilized Thomas Edison State College’s academic program review services to establish a total of 58 college credits for the following green credentials:  eight Building Performance Institute (BPI) certifications including the popular Building Analyst Professional; three Leadership in Energy & Environment Design (LEED) credentials including the Green Associate; three solar North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) programs, the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Accredited Installer Workshop, the  National Insulation Association (NIA) Insulator Energy Appraisal Professional (IEAP) certification, and a Mechanical Insulation Green Awareness certification from the US Green Building Council in partnership with the  International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers.  By integrating these green credentials into its program, NJ PLACE has expanded its scope beyond apprenticeships and can serve as an entry point for New Jersey residents who wish to use one of the qualifying green certifications toward a college degree.

“The assessment of college equivalent learning for these nationally recognized green certification training programs moves us a big step forward in our goal of creating stackable credentials leading toward college degrees for non-traditional students.  These programs meet the standard of quality postsecondary education and should be incorporated into college transcripts,” said Dr. Susan J. Schurman, NJ PLACE’s Faculty Director and Dean of Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations and Rutgers’ University College Community.

NJ PLACE and Thomas Edison State College have worked out several associate and bachelor degree pathways for certified individuals whether they hold one or multiple certifications.  Participants from NJ PLACE’s apprenticeship programs who have earned any of the reviewed green certifications can also stack these credits on top of their apprenticeship, placing them even closer to earning a college degree. 

Click here to see the complete list of qualifying certifications and learn how to take advantage of this opportunity.


NJ PLACE Participant Bette Feldeisen is named ACE Learner of the Year.

On March 5, 2013, the American Council on Education (ACE) Named NJ PLACE participant Bette Feldeisen, a plumbing supervisor and honors graduate from Gloucester Community College in NJ, as one of two “Adult Learner of the Year” award winners for 2012.

ACE presents the Adult Learner of the Year Award annually to an individual who has benefitted academically or professionally from the use of ACE credit recommendations for workforce or military training. Recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievements in their community or workplace while successfully balancing the demands of family, career and education. Bette will receive a $500 scholarship, which she intends to use to continue her education at Thomas Edison State College.

“Without NJ PLACE it is safe to say that I would not have been able to return to school" proclaims Bette, now a plumbing supervisor at Stockton College in NJ. Through a statewide agreement, “the NJ PLACE program allowed me to earn credits from my plumbing apprenticeship which in turn cut down the amount of time needed to complete my degree.” Bette became an apprentice plumber at Local 322 of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters after automation displaced her from the printing industry.  She completed her apprenticeship in 2001, working steady as a journeyman plumber until the 2008 economic recession.  With jobs suddenly scarce, Bette enrolled in college in the fall of 2009 and graduated with honors from Gloucester County College in December 2010.

"I can't overemphasize how important the ability to successfully pursue higher education has been to me and my family, and I am looking forward to continuing that journey,” Feldeisen said during her remarks while accepting the award.

 Click to see Bette accept her award


NJ PLACE Welcomes Our Newest Apprenticeship Partner - Starting Points Inc.

NJ PLACE is pleased to welcome our newest registered apprenticeship program partner, Starting Points, Inc. Located in Jersey City, Starting Points provides the classroom-based instruction for apprentices preparing to be child development specialists at several employer sponsors throughout Northern New Jersey. Given this regional structure, NJ PLACE has established a regional articulation agreement between Starting Points and the area community colleges, allowing apprentices to transfer 18-19 college credits from their apprenticeship training toward an AAS in Early Childhood Education. Hudson County Community College was the first to sign this agreement in September, followed by Passaic County Community College in November. We expect Bergen, and Essex county colleges to follow suit in the coming months.

NJ PLACE:  Trailblazer and Innovator

On August 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recognized NJ PLACE as a 21st Century ApprenticeshipTrailblazer and Innovator.   NJ PLACE Executive Director Jeanine Nagrod and program stakeholder, Insulators Local 32 Business Manager Pete Ielmini, accepted the award from Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis at the Out Educate, Out Build, Out Innovate Summit in Washington, DC.  The Summit celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Registered Apprenticeship in the U.S. with the passage of the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937.  At the Summit, NJ PLACE was featured in the US DOL’s Hall of InJeanine Nagrod (NJ PLACE Executive Director) and Pete Ielmini (Insulator's Local 32 Business Manager) accepting award from Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solisnovation along with other Trailblazers and Innovators from around the country. 
The US DOL also published a one-page program summary on NJ PLACE.

NJ PSecretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis with the Trailblazers and Innovators from around the countryLACE was nominated for this honor because the program  is helping define 21st Century Apprenticeship not only as a means of high-skill, industry-driven training, but as a recognized pathway to a college degree within New Jersey’s public higher education system.  Our model program fit the bill for a cutting edge replicable, scalable, and sustainable program which has implications for Registered Apprenticeship in the 21st Century.  In fact, NJ PLACE’s activities met all four goals categories which define an RA Trailblazer and Innovator:                                     

Goal 1: An increasing number of businesses and additional industries will use and reap the advantages of the Registered Apprenticeship model.

Goal 2: Americans will seek and find Registered Apprenticeship as valuable postsecondary pathway to rewarding careers.

Goal 3: Diverse populations in the US workforce will have access to growing opportunities in Registered Apprenticeship.

Goal 4: Public policy will increasingly reflect the power and value of Registered Apprenticeship to address economic and workforce development challenges.

Jeanine Nagrod (NJ PLACE Executive Director) meeting with Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

The day before the summit, Ms. Nagrod had an opportunity to speak with Secretary Solis at a special reception for award winners.  The Secretary of Labor praised NJ PLACE for our work to advance Registered Apprenticeship as well as our partnership with another award winner – the Building Trades’ Helmets to Hardhats program.  The reception was held on the US DOL’s rooftop which has beautiful view of the US Capitol and the National Building Museum. 

US Capitol

National Building Museum

In 2004, the NJ PLACE initiative was born with the backing of some government entities, a few registered apprenticeship partners and a handful of interested community colleges.  In the years since, NJ PLACE has grown to include 12 apprenticeship partners, all 19 New Jersey community colleges, several key state and federal government stakeholders, and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.  This honor is shared with all of our stakeholders and program participants who make NJ PLACE everything it is today.

Click here for more information on the summit and the RA Trailblazers and Innovators. 

Click here to view event photos.