2007 Business Partners of the Year
Atlantic – AtlantiCare
AtlantiCare, a leading provider of health care in the Atlantic County area, provides many opportunities for students of the Atlantic County Institute of Technology. Hospital representatives have served on the advisory board of the district’s Academy of Health, Science and Medicine since its inception three years ago, as well as on the practical nursing advisory board. AtlantiCare provides opportunities for academy students and medical assistant students who participate in job shadowing and internship programs. Close to 200 ACIT students visit their facilities each year. AtlantiCare also provides clinical opportunities at their two facilities for the ACIT practical nursing students, and presents a monetary award to an outstanding student at graduation. They have generously donated specialized equipment such as defibrillators to the school for use by the students. In addition, they willingly participate in school activities whenever called upon to do so.
Bergen – Mercedes-Benz USA
As a graduate of vocational-technical education, Richard Thomas of Mercedes Benz USA is an invaluable supporter of Bergen County Technical Schools. As the manager of Mercedes-Benz Digital E-Learning & Digital Media department, Mr. Thomas has embraced school-to-work initiatives and has welcomed student interns from technical high schools for over ten years. Beginning his career as a Mercedes-Benz mechanic, Mr. Thomas serves as a role model to students. While working as a mechanic, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Ramapo College and a Master of Law degree from Pace University. In addition to the students he hosts at the company, he directs over 70 people at Mercedes-Benz.
Burlington – Shamrock Heating, Air Conditioning & Electrical Inc.
Shamrock Heating, Air Conditioning & Electrical, Inc. of Vincentown has been involved with the Burlington County Institute of Technology since 2002. Started in 1990 by Jim Logan and two partners, the company now has eight partners and employs about 75 people. With many divisions such as residential and commercial air conditioning, service department, retail department, and electrical, Shamrock HVAC has continually employed students through a school-to-work program. Several students have continued their employment at the company after graduation. Jim Logan, a 2002 graduate of Burlington County Institute of Technology’s adult division, believes that people from all walks of life deserve a chance and is willing to give them a chance in return for hard work and dedication.
Camden – Lockheed Martin
Through the dedication of Jonathan Montague and Timothy Morgan, Lockheed Martin MS 2 developed a custom information technology apprenticeship program for students in the computer networking and electronic communications career program. Prior to and during the apprenticeships, all students participate in seminars and hands-on workshops to decide if they are interested in pursuing this opportunity. Throughout the process, parents are involved as well as high school administrators and teachers. Students who commit themselves to the apprenticeship program are hired as full-time Lockheed Martin MS 2 employees upon graduation. After its initial run last year, seven graduates were hired. Eight students are now currently participating in the program. Both Mr. Montague and Mr. Morgan also serve on various career program advisory boards. Their expertise and contributions help Camden County Technical Schools shape their career programs to reflect the current trends and skills needed by high school and post-secondary school graduates.
Cape May – Gary Schaffer, Director of the Cape May County Public Safety Training Center
In 2004, the law and public safety program (LAPS) at the Cape May County High School established a partnership with Gary Schaffer, Director of the Public Safety Training Center located near the school in the Crest Haven Complex. In addition to opening the training center to students for field visits, Mr. Schaffer has trained over 35 LAPS students as Special Law Enforcement Class One police officers in the past three years. He is an active member of LAPS advisory council at the school, providing professional advice on a regular basis to improve and enhance the LAPS program. Mr. Schaffer’s commitment to the school includes attending the state’s Generation Next conference so that he would be more knowledgeable about the law and public safety career cluster. He also became a certified substitute teacher at CMC Tech in order to instruct high school students.
Cumberland – New Jersey Dental Assistants’ Association (NJDAA)
The New Jersey Dental Assistants’ Association (NJDAA) partnership with Cumberland County Technical Education Center began in 1992 when CCTEC’s dental assisting program was implemented and consisted of 150 student members of the association. Through membership in NJDAA, dental assisting students at CCTEC are partnered with job opportunities and in networking with other dental assisting schools in the state at an annual weekend workshop. In addition, each year NJDAA gives two CCTEC students a monetary award based on academic success and clinical skills displayed while the student worked in a local community dental office.
Essex – Bloomfield Electrical Supply Co.
William B. Kent Jr., president and owner of Bloomfield Electrical Supply Company, has been a school-to-work partner with the Essex County Vocational-Technical Schools for the past 20 years. Through his dedication and commitment to electrical education, Mr. Kent has employed scores of students from the electrical construction technology program as 12th grade cooperative education workers. His company gives students the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge of the electrical construction industry and also to view entrepreneurship first hand. Mr. Kent takes his role as a mentor very seriously by emphasizing computer proficiency in the work force, total trade familiarity and workforce and interpersonal skills. His cooperative education graduates have gone on to numerous electrical apprenticeships, as well as furthering their education at local colleges.
Gloucester – Parke Bank
Vito Pantilione and Parke Bank have been tremendous supporters of Gloucester County Institute of Technology and its Academy of Finance and Business Management for over ten years. Mr. Pantilione began as an advisory board member for the banking program and has seen its growth into a full-time Academy of Finance and Business Management. In addition to his support as a committee member, he has provided many student internships. Some of the internships have evolved into full-time employment or part-time employment for college students. Parke Bank has also provided field trips in which Mr. Pantilione has personally met with students to talk about the industry, careers in banking and personal banking. Mr. Pantilione has also assisted in the academy’s exit performance test by meeting with students as they present their strategic business plans.
Hudson – New Jersey Carpenter’s Local #6
The Hudson County Schools of Technology partnership with the New Jersey Carpenter’s Local #6 provides a Youth Transition to Work (YTTW) program through a grant from the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This program recruits senior students from the Kas Prep Construction Trade Academy to work and learn with their teachers at the New Jersey Carpenters Training Center in Kenilworth. Additionally, a retired union carpenter and training center instructors and staff work with the students in hands-on activities to help them develop the necessary skills and knowledge to pass the union’s entrance exam. After graduation from high school, students who pass the entrance exam will begin the seamless transition to working as apprentices. The New Jersey Carpenters Union has agreed to take up to ten students per year. Currently, eight young men and one young woman are working in this first year of the program. This cooperative arrangement provides a win-win situation for successful students and the union.
Hunterdon – Picture Perfect
Picture Perfect, a local picture framing store, is an invaluable asset to Hunterdon County Polytech Career Academy. Picture Perfect has been a strong supporter of the commercial arts and animation programs for the past eight years. Owners Dale and Sandy Edwards have donated supplies, hosted annual field trips to the store, given gift certificates to graduating seniors as scholarships, donated money for fundraising efforts, and framed student artwork for discounted rates. Mrs. Edwards, a watercolor artist, promotes the arts for today’s youth. By giving them opportunities to frame their artwork and participate in shows, contests, and displays for Friends & Family Night, she is fostering pride and self esteem in young artists.
Mercer – St. Francis Medical Center School of Nursing
Mercer County Technical Schools’ Assunpink Center has had an extensive partnership with Dr. Bonnie Ross, director of the School of Nursing at St. Francis Medical Center, for many years. Dr. Ross helps health occupations and medical office assistant students explore various health careers throughout the hospital. She assists in coordinating the schedules for the students to job shadow in various hospital departments and personally conducts tours of the School of Nursing. Many students from Mercer County Technical Schools have pursued their dreams of becoming nurses by attending the St. Francis School of Nursing. Dr. Ross, who recently completed her Ph.D., is a professional role model for students, demonstrating the unlimited opportunities a career in nursing offers.
Middlesex – Stelton Cabinets
Robert Aiello is the owner of Stelton Cabinets, a family business started by his grandfather, father and uncle in 1945. After graduating from high school in 1970, Mr. Aiello entered Fairleigh Dickinson University to study dentistry. To earn extra money for tuition, he used his inherited skills as a craftsman to do side jobs for his professors, many of whom wondered why he didn’t own his own carpentry business. Following the death of his uncle, the last living owner of the family business, Mr. Aiello took over the operation of Stelton Cabinets in 1974, turning to the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools for trainees in carpentry and cabinet making. Knowing that the vocational school would give him students who would be well-trained, apprentice-level employees, Mr. Aiello has continually employed at least one graduate or one student from the Middlesex County Vocational Schools cooperative education program for the past 33 years.
Monmouth – Sheraton Eatontown Hotel
The Sheraton Eatontown Hotel has housed a classroom of the Monmouth County Vocational School District’s Culinary Education Center since 1999, providing yearlong externship experiences for over 96 secondary students. Thomas Riccardi, general manager of the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel, has been a strong supporter of the Culinary Education Center’s philosophy to bring students into the workplace. As a partner of the Culinary Education Center, Mr. Riccardi permits students to work with a hotel employee in a culinary-related position to learn about the food-service industry and define their professional career goals. This partnership has resulted in the establishment of a unique and exemplary work-based Culinary Training Program. The goal of this initiative was to unite occupational training instructors and mentors to co-teach at a work-based training site for the development of high academic and workplace technical training skills for culinary students.
Morris – Arden Courts
Morris County School of Technology began its affiliation with Arden Courts in 2006 in order to provide practical clinical experience for 11th grade students from the Academy for Health Care Sciences. Since the inception of the program, the assisted living facility for patients with Alzheimer’s disease has been most welcoming to students and is very accommodating of student schedules. During weekly visits, students learn how to interact with the residents at the facility who are in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and they also assist the activities director in coordinating the program of the day.
Ocean – Perlmart, Inc.
The Perlmart, Inc. family of Shop-Rite stores has been a strong business partner of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School district for over ten years. With six stores in Ocean County, their employees annually provide students with work-based learning experiences, host field trips, offer job-shadowing experiences, serve as guest speakers in the classroom, and work as student trainers in the school-based learning environment. Perlmart, Inc. also provides representatives to career-based advisory committees, enabling courses to stay current with industry trends. Through the opportunity to work within their stores, hundreds of students have gained the confidence and skills necessary to become valued employees. Perlmart, Inc. has an excellent human resource staff that offers students employment. For graduating students, Perlmart, Inc. recognizes their accomplishments by annually presenting scholarships.
Passaic – Valley National Bank
Valley National Bank has partnered with Passaic County Technical Institute consistently for approximately 15 years. This partnership has provided approximately 200 students with work-based learning opportunities in the form of job shadowing, internships and cooperative education. Valley National Bank awards scholarships to students every year and serves on the advisory committee for the Academy of Finance. Valley National Bank helps the district attain its goals and helps students develop skills that will sustain them in the labor force and in banking careers.
Salem – The Pennsville National Bank
The Pennsville National Bank has supported the efforts of the Salem County Vocational Technical School (SCVTS) Educational Foundation for seven years by providing student scholarships and financial assistance and through enhancement of the district’s educational technology initiatives. Bank president Robert Vanderslice serves as the chairperson of the SCVTS Community Advisory Board. Under his leadership, the advisory board helped to develop and revamp four academy programs, institute a school-wide reading initiative, coordinate a comprehensive survey of middle school students and parents, and develop the district’s marketing and recruitment plans. Mr. Vanderslice also serves as the chair of the advisory board’s Community Information and Marketing Committee.
Somerset – Piro Electric & Communications
The business partnership with Piro Electric & Communications was established two years ago by Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School’s (SCVTHS) Cooperative Industrial Education (CIE) program. Since that time, Chris Piro, owner/operator of the company, has employed many SCVTHS students on a part-time and full-time basis. He assists with on-the-job training for CIE students who work part-time while attending classes at the high school. Mr. Piro is presently supervising six SCVTHS students who are working at job sites throughout New Jersey. The students work up to 33 hours per week for Piro Electric to earn 15 credits towards graduation. Graduates who remain with Piro Electric attend evening school while serving their apprenticeships. Mr. Piro is not only an employer, but also an active member of the Electrical Construction Advisory Board. As an advisory board member, he helps keep the technology training in the electrical program current with the needs of employers.
Sussex – MKP Architecture Inc.
MKP Architecture Inc. has been a valuable business partner to Sussex County Technical School since 2003. Throughout the years, the company has employed students of the computer-aided drafting and design program (CADD) and shared their professional knowledge and expertise with students. MKP Architecture owners Thomas Makris and John Kedzierski have advised Sussex County Technical School in many areas including curriculum, evaluation, and professional development; served as members of the CADD Advisory Council; provided invaluable suggestions to the instructor; and conducted simulated student interviews on Career Day. The support that MKP provides to the school has made a significant difference in the lives of many of the students and benefited the faculty.
Union – Novo Nordisk Inc.
A partnership between the Union County Academy for Information Technology (AIT) and Novo Nordisk Inc., an international pharmaceutical company, began in 2006. Novo Nordisk information technology executives and managers collaborated with school administrators to develop a series of authentic experiences tailored to the needs, interests, and skills of students attending AIT. About 20 students visit Novo Nordisk headquarters and participate in an annual “IT Expo” to gain insights into the rapidly changing world of business IT solutions. Novo Nordisk professionals visit AIT and present an “IT Career Day” where more than 200 students are introduced to varied IT career paths. Students enroll in a project-based high school course in which a team of students work under the technical direction of Novo Nordisk project managers to create IT products that support Novo Nordisk business needs. Senior students have the opportunity to visit Novo Nordisk headquarters to “shadow” an IT professional.
Warren – Hawk Pointe Golf Club
Since 2006, Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington has been hiring Warren County Technical School students for a variety of positions including culinary, automotive and welding. Managed by KemperSports, the golf club and General Manager Mark Freemott are very supportive of Warren Tech students. The entire management team is focused on the students’ success, taking great pride in having young adults excel in their positions.