As New Jersey recovers from the deep recession, employers throughout the state are having a hard time finding workers with the skills needed to fill current and future jobs. Employers are calling for an increased focus on career preparation, including career and technical education (CTE) programs that develop academic, technical and work readiness skills.
Many studies, including the 2011 Pathways to Prosperity report from Harvard University, say that providing more CTE options for students in high school and beyond will help address:
- • Employer needs
- • Student and parent concerns about the high cost of college
- • Student achievement, college readiness, increased career focus and improved student outcomes.
New Jersey already has a strong system of 21 county vocational-technical school districts that provide the kinds of employer-driven CTE programs highlighted in the Harvard report.
These 21st century CTE programs are not the vocational schools of the past: They integrate rigorous academic content and technical skills to prepare all types of students for college and careers, not just for a specific job.
Today, more than 32,000 students attend New Jersey’s county vocational-technical schools, but the student and parent demand for CTE programs exceeds the space available.
Statewide, county vocational-technical schools get an average of almost 2.5 applications for each available space. In some counties, and for some programs, the demand is much higher. In 2013, almost 17,000 students who applied to county vocational-technical high schools could not be accommodated.
It’s clear that these opportunities need to be expanded.
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association and the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools are launching a new statewide coalition to raise awareness and generate public support for career and technical education in our state.
About the Coalition: FAQS
Who belongs to the Coalition?
Current members range from international corporations like BMW, to New Jersey companies like PSEG, to local companies that are already involved with their county vocational-technical schools as business partners and mentors. Other founding members include business associations that represent various economic sectors, like the New Jersey Utilities Association and the New Jersey Restaurant Association.
What are the Coalition’s goals?
Simply stated, there are three:
- Promote quality career and technical education opportunities that prepare students for careers as well as college.
- Engage employers with county vocational-technical schools and students. The key to successful training programs is involvement from real-world local employers.
- Expand the schools and programs to prepare more career-focused, job-ready New Jerseyans.
What will Coalition members be asked to do?
Lend your company name as a supporter of 21st century career and technical education. If you can, get involved with your local county vocational-technical school as a business partner or mentor. Talk to other employers about the benefits of career and technical education.
What’s the benefit of joining the Coalition for my business and for me?
As an employer, the availability of career-focused education in high school has a direct impact on you. County vocational-technical schools do a tremendous job preparing students for college and all types of careers, but capacity is limited and the schools need the support of business to design and implement relevant classes and training. Your support on this Coalition will help ensure the vitality of the county vocational-technical school system across the state. Most importantly, it will help provide you and your business with a skilled and trained workforce in the local community, that you will be able to hire from.
How much does it cost to join the Coalition?
It’s free. We are not asking you for money, just your voice and your company’s endorsement of the growing statewide effort to support career and technical education opportunities that lead to a better-prepared workforce for New Jersey.
Will the membership contact list be shared or sold? Will I be receiving a lot of junk e-mails from other people?
No. You will receive occasional e-mails from the Coalition regarding matters of interest to county vocational-technical schools, our efforts to expand and enhance these programs, and suggestions as to how you and your company might help advance these goals. But you will not be getting solicitations or other requests unrelated to the goals of the Coalition.