About the Acting Commissioner
Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D. was appointed Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development by Governor Chris Christie on September 23, 2016. Dr. Fichtner brings extensive workforce and economic development experience to his new role.
Dr. Fichtner has been with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development since 2010, most recently serving as Deputy Commissioner, where he directly oversaw the department’s program areas including Workforce Operations and Business Services, Workforce Development and Economic Opportunity, Research and Information, Income Security, and Labor Standards and Safety Enforcement. In that role, Dr. Fichtner led the department’s efforts to develop a strategic vision and direction for workforce and talent development in New Jersey and to implement all four titles of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. He focused the department’s workforce investments on the needs of employers in the state’s key industries. Additionally, he led the development of seven industry-focused Talent Networks responsible for building high-quality, employer-driven partnerships across the state. Under Dr. Fichtner’s leadership, the department has expanded services to jobseekers through partnerships with employers, community colleges, libraries, and community-based organizations and strengthened connections between unemployment insurance and reemployment services. He also worked to modernize the state’s unemployment insurance program through technology enhancements and improved processes. He has strengthened the use of data throughout the department by developing new performance metrics, implementing a workforce longitudinal data system, and developing industry-focused labor market information. Prior to assuming the role as Deputy Commissioner in January 2012, Dr. Fichtner served as the department’s Assistant Commissioner for Labor Planning and Analysis.
Before joining the department in 2010, Dr. Fichtner was the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. In that role, he conducted extensive research on the workforce and skill needs of key industries, implemented a variety of workforce and education initiatives, and conducted evaluations of education and training programs. He has also worked in the field of economic development in Jersey City and Atlanta.
Dr. Fichtner currently serves as Chair of the National Association of State Liaisons for Workforce Development Partnerships, the workforce development committee of the National Governors Association. He previously served as chairman of the Labor Market Information Committee of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, where he currently serves as a board member. In March 2016, Dr. Fichtner was appointed to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Information Advisory Council which is advising the Secretary of Labor and the Commissioner of the Bureau of the Labor Statistics on the use of workforce and labor market information.
Dr. Fichtner earned a Ph.D. in Planning and Public Policy from Rutgers University, a Master’s degree in City Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in History from Vassar College.