NJCCVTS president and Morris County Vocational School District superintendent Scot Moffitt, NJCCVTS executive director Judy Savage and Bergen County Technical Schools superintendent Dr. Howard Lerner speak at the Manufacturing Caucus hearing at the County College of Morris on October 17.

Garden State’s vocational high schools appeal for more money to help them keep pace with the rising demand for technical training

New Jersey voters will decide in a few weeks whether the state should take on more than $100 million in new debt to pay for library capital projects. But even as the fate of that proposed borrowing has yet to be determined, lawmakers are already starting to explore the next big bond issue that could go before voters.

A bipartisan group of legislators that is looking at ways the state can better support an ongoing rebirth of the New Jersey manufacturing industry took testimony yesterday from representatives of the state’s 21 county vocational school districts, who are seeking more funding to help keep pace with a rising demand for technical training that’s being driven, in part, by the manufacturing sector.

Schools turned away nearly 60% of applicants

This year, the vocational high schools had to turn away nearly 60 percent of their applicants due to a lack of available classroom space, even as companies across the state have been complaining that they can’t find enough workers with the right technical skills to fill all available job openings.

To fill the void, the lawmakers are considering floating a new state bond issue to help the vocational schools build new facilities, expand current classroom space, and update equipment.

Read the whole story.

The students who participated in the 2017 NJAC County Vocational-Technical Schools Cook-Off at the New Jersey Association of Counties annual conference in Atlantic City

Tantalizing aromas and eye-popping visual displays greeted attendees at the New Jersey Association of Counties annual conference as they entered the final event of the session, the sixth annual NJAC County Vocational-Technical Schools Cook-Off.

The team from Camden County Technical Schools begins preparations at their station

Teams of culinary arts students from 11 county vocational-technical school districts were charged with preparing 400 samples of an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre and creating decorative serving stations reflecting the theme of their entries.

Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded in several categories.

“Our freeholders and other county officials were awed by the creativity, talent and poise of the cook-off teams, and as always, the food was outstanding,” said NJAC Executive Director John Donnadio.

“The cook-off has become one of the most anticipated and popular events of the conference, and though it’s hard to believe, every year it seems to get more exciting,” Donnadio said.

A student from Cumberland County Technical Education Center describes her team’s entry to a judge

NJCCVTS Executive Director Judy Savage said the cook-off provides an opportunity for county officials and other conference attendees to see the results of their investment in county vocational-technical schools.

“The culinary arts students — and students in other programs ranging from health sciences, to STEM, to construction trades – are pursuing their passions,” Savage said. “In preparing for their careers and higher education, they are gaining real-world experiences and in many cases college credits, while they are still in high school.


An Essex County West Caldwell Tech student prepares for the competition

“Our schools, our students and their parents are very grateful to the county officials whose support makes these opportunities possible,” she said.

As the students carefully plated, presented and explained their entries, three panels of judges – a group of NJAC members and sponsors, a group of professional chefs and all conference attendees, who voted for the People’s Choice Awards – spent a very happy hour sampling the offerings and casting their ballots.

The districts participating this year and their entries were:

Bergen County Technical Schools:  Middle Eastern Delight: Baba Ghanoush with a Kafta Ball Served on Couscous Rounds with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce and Tomato Cucumber Relish

Camden County Technical Schools:  Braised Beef Short Rib Taco with Mexican Street Corn Salsa and an Avocado Crema

Cumberland County Technical Education Center:  Mojo Pork Taco with Pico De Gallo, Pickled Radish Slaw and Cilantro Lime Creama, Served with a Crispy Shrimp Spoon with Black Bean and Avocado Puree, Pineapple Pico, Roasted Jalapeno, Mango Coulis and Micro Corn Shoots

Monmouth County students prepare their hazelnut-crusted pork tenderloin

Essex County Vocational Schools’ West Caldwell Tech:  Grilled Angus Beef Patty with Sauteed Leeks, Finished with Irish Whiskey Marmalade, Topped with Beer Cheese Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce and Irish Bacon, and Served with Guinness and Onion Soup with an Irish Cheddar Crouton

Gloucester County Institute of Technology:  Crab Macaroni and Cheese on a Crispy Cone with Pancetta Cream

Hudson County Schools of Technology’s High Tech High School:  Sabor del Caribe (Flavors of the Caribbean): Ropa Vieja Beef

Mercer County Technical Schools:  Dark Honey and Bourbon Sausage Served with a White Corn Cake and a Roasted Tomatillo Stuffed with Smoked Gouda and Onion Bourbon Jam

Mercer County Technical Schools’ dark honey and bourbon sausage with a white corn cake and a roasted tomatillo

Middlesex County Vocational & Technical Schools Perth Amboy Campus:  Seared Barnegat Scallops with Shiitake, Spinach, Corn Puree, Popcorn, Cranberry Dust and Micro Cilantro

Monmouth County Vocational School District:  Hazelnut-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Served with a Strawberry Balsamic Glaze and Paired with Strawberry Salsa and Micro Greens

Morris County Vocational School District:  Pork Belly Buns

Passaic County Technical Institute:  All-American Grilled Cheese with a Smoked Tomato Bisque Shooter

At a very exciting ceremony following the event, all students received certificates of participation from NJAC and the competition awards were presented.

Gloucester County Institute of Technology students present their entry to the Professional Chefs judges

The team from Camden County Technical Schools took home the People’s Choice Gold Medal, guaranteeing Camden a chance to defend the title in the 2018 competition.

Cumberland County Technical Education Center won the People’s Choice Silver Medal.  Hudson County Schools of Technology’s High Tech High School won the Bronze.



The team from Morris County Schools of Technology prepares for the competition

Other honors went to:

NJAC Judges Panel Taste:

Gold – Camden
Silver – Cumberland
Bronze – Hudson

NJAC Judges Panel Station Display:

Gold – Cumberland
Silver – Passaic
Bronze – Monmouth

Hudson County Schools of Technology’s Ropa Vieja Beef


Professional Chef’s Judges Panel Taste:

Gold – Cumberland
Silver – Middlesex
Bronze – Monmouth

Professional Chef’s Judges Panel Presentation:

Gold – Middlesex
Silver – Hudson
Bronze – Cumberland

The New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools is grateful to the New Jersey Association of Counties for sponsoring this competition every year, and to the staffs at NJAC and Caesars Atlantic City, whose hard work makes it so successful.

The team from Passaic County Technical Institute with their food truck station display

A student from the Middlesex County Perth Amboy Tech team explains their seared Barnegat scallops entry to the judges

A student from Bergen Tech Teterboro adds the final touches to her team’s entry


High Technology High School in Lincroft, ranked as the top high school in New Jersey and the #1 STEM high school in the nation in the 2017 US News & World Report Best High Schools in America survey

Five of the top ten high schools in New Jersey are county vocational-technical schools, according to US News & World Report’s 2017 America’s Best High Schools survey, released on April 25.

High Technology High School in Lincroft, part of the Monmouth County Vocational School District, was the highest- ranked school in New Jersey and was ranked #16 in the nation.

Also among the top 10 New Jersey schools were Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro (#3), Union County Magnet High School (#4), Union County’s Academy for Allied Health Sciences in Scotch Plains (#8) and Monmouth County Marine Academy of Science and Technology in Highlands (#10). The five schools all won gold medals for ranking among the top 500 schools in the country.

The Monmouth County Academy of Allied Health Sciences in Neptune, the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health in Woodbridge, and the Union County Academy for Information Technology in Scotch Plains also won gold medals.

Four county vocational-technical schools were honored with silver medals and 15 schools won bronze medals in the Best High Schools survey.

Of the 106 New Jersey high schools recognized by US News in 2017, 27 were county vocational-technical schools.

High Technology High School also topped the national rankings in US News’ Best STEM High Schools report for the third year in a row. Seven other county vocational-technical schools also won gold medals in this survey.

“While all of these national rankings are subjective and based on different criteria, it’s a great honor for our schools and our students to receive this national recognition,” said Tim McCorkell, the superintendent of the Monmouth County Vocational School District and the president of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools.

McCorkell noted that the rankings are “also a tribute to the teachers in the local school districts in our counties who do such a great job in preparing students to meet the academic challenges at these highly-rigorous schools.

“It is also very gratifying to see that eight New Jersey county vocational-technical schools offering a broad range of career programs — where students are exposed to a variety of careers including auto mechanics, computer graphics, construction trades and culinary arts – also won national recognition,” he said. “It’s a great acknowledgement of the academic engagement that high-quality career and technical education offers.”

The US News annual report rankings include the top 6,021 of the more than 22,000 high schools in the United States.

Here are the awards received by New Jersey county vocational-technical schools:

Gold Medal – Best High Schools
High Technology High School, Lincroft (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
Bergen County Technical High School, Teterboro
Union County Magnet High School, Scotch Plains
Academy for Allied Health Sciences, Scotch Plains (Union County Vocational-Technical Schools)
Marine Academy of Science and Technology, Highlands (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
Academy of Allied Health Sciences, Neptune (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health, Woodbridge
Academy for Information Technology, Scotch Plains (Union County Vocational-Technical Schools)

Silver Medal – Best High Schools
High Tech High School, North Bergen (Hudson County Schools of Technology)
Communications High School, Wall (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
Bergen Academies
Union County Tech

Bronze Medal – Best High Schools
Biotechnology High School, Freehold (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
County Prep High School, Jersey City (Hudson County Schools of Technology)
Academy for Law and Public Safety (Morris County Vocational School District and Butler High School)
Academy for Mathematics, Science and Engineering (Morris Country Vocational School District and Morris Hills High School)
Academy for Performing Arts (Union County Vocational-Technical Schools)
Atlantic County Institute of Technology
Bloomfield Tech (Essex County Vocational Technical Schools)
Camden County Technical Schools –Pennsauken Campus
Marine Academy for Science and Technology (MAST), Manahawkin (Ocean County Vocational Technical School)
Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technology, Edison
Morris County School of Technology
Newark Tech (Essex County Vocational Technical Schools)
North 13th Street Tech (Essex County Vocational Technical Schools)
Somerset County Vocational and technical Schools
West Caldwell Tech (Essex County Vocational Technical Schools)

Gold Medal – Best STEM High Schools
High Technology High School, Lincroft (Monmouth County Vocational School District) – #1 in the US
Union County Magnet High School, Scotch Plains
Academy of Allied Health and Science, Neptune (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
Academy of Allied Health Sciences, Scotch Plains (Union County Vocational-Technical Schools)
Bergen County Technical School, Teterboro
Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST). Highlands (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
Academy for Information Technology (Union County Vocational-Technical Schools)

Indrani Das video

Watch video at WSJ.com

Meet the winner of this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search: 17-year-old Indrani Das. Indrani joins WSJ’s Tanya Rivero to discuss her winning entry into the nation’s most prestigious science and math competition as well as her plans for the future.

Bergen Academies senior Indrani Das

Indrani Das, a senior at Bergen County Academies won the $250,000 top prize at the Regeneron Science Talent Competition, the oldest and most prestigious high school science competition in the country.

Indrani’s award-winning project essentially “remediates” supporting brain cells that lose their functionality and become toxic in brain injury and disease.

“I became interested in brain injury and disease in my freshman year, when I learned that these conditions are both poorly understood and largely untreatable,” Indrani said.

“I decided to focus on the common framework of numerous conditions like ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, etc:  the ‘impairment’ of crucial supporting brain cells,” she said.

Seven other Bergen Academies seniors won honors in the Regeneron competition:

Jacy Fang from the Academy of Medical Science Technology, was selected as a finalist; and Enoch Jiang, from the Academy of Business and Finance;  Jiwoo Lee, Christina Ping, and Varun Subramanian, from the Academy of Medical Science Technology; and Andrew Kevin Fong and Sabrina Josefina Gjerswold-Selleck, from the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology were selected as national scholars (semi-finalists).

News release from the Regeneron Science Talent Search

Watch the video as Indrani is interviewed on WSJ.com:

From Northjersey.com



Manufacturing is thriving in New Jersey, but many jobs in the industry are very different than they were 20 years ago.

Employers say they have a hard time finding qualified people to fill high-paying positions that do not require a bachelor’s degree, but do demand advanced technical skills in fields like design, digital electronics, engineering, mechatronics and automation.

Over the past few years, thanks to partnerships with industry and colleges, NJ county vocational-technical schools have launched programs to meet this need and prepare a pipeline of employees with clear pathways to successful careers in 21st century advanced manufacturing.

The two newest programs, both opened in September 2016, are:

  • Burlington County Institute of Technology’s Advanced Manufacturing Center, a partnership with Rowan College of Burlington County at BCIT’s Medford campus, serving both high school and adult students.
  • Somerset County Vocational and Technical Schools’ MEAM (Mechatronics, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing) program, a partnership with Raritan Valley Community College.

BCIT assistant superintendent Dr. Todd Bonsall said the career and technical school and the college worked together on the shared vision for an advanced manufacturing and fabrication program that would serve both Burlington County residents and companies.

“We became partners as a way to give people the tools they need to enter, advance and flourish in this growing industry, from high school and onto a college degree, while earning NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills) Level I & II certificates along the way,” Dr. Bonsall said.

“RCBC’s access to a $770,000 National Science Foundation grant and the available space on the BCIT Medford campus provided the perfect combination to offer the program to both high school and adult learners,” he said.

BCIT high school students take their classes at the Center during the day; in the evenings, adult students receive instruction though a program jointly operated by BCIT and RCBC.

Rowan University and industries like Westampton-based Inductotherm are also involved with the program.

US Rep. Leonard Lance (second from right) toured Somerset’s MEAM program on February 23. He is joined by (from left) Dr. Michael John McDonough, President, Raritan Valley Community College; Dr. Chrys Harttraft, SCVTS Superintendent; and MEAM students William Smith, of Somerset, and Stephen Demcher, of South Bound Brook. 

Somerset County’s MEAM partnership also developed from a shared understanding of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) employment opportunities in New Jersey and the need to create an employee pipeline with a broad range of opportunities.

SCVTS superintendent Dr. Chrys Harttraft said SCVTS, RVCC and their industry partners “had a great vision, but we would not have been able to launch it without the county vocational-technical school grant program approved by the Legislature and the Governor.

“The students get hands-on workforce experience, industry credentials and college credits. They are prepared for a broad range of career options, whether they want to work immediately after high school as technicians or go on to a two or four year college engineering program,” Dr. Harttraft said.

Other advanced manufacturing programs at county vocational-technical schools include:

  • Bergen County Technical Schools’ Applied Technology High School, at Bergen Community College, giving high school students a head start on an associate’s degree in engineering technology.
  • Hudson County School of Technology’s D-Fab (design and fabrication), a collaboration with employers such as Eastern Millwork and NJIT, New Jersey City University and Hudson County Community College.
  • Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School’s pre-engineering and manufacturing technology program, preparing students to install, troubleshoot and support the production process for automated manufacturing.
  • Morris County Vocational School District’s EDAM (engineering design and advanced manufacturing) program, at the County College of Morris, where students learn in CCM’s engineering labs and can earn an associate’s degree within one year of graduating from high school.
  • Passaic County Technical Institute’s manufacturing technology program, which trains students in the metal fabrication industry with state-of-the-art equipment, industry partnerships and college credits from Bergen Community College.

As word of the new advanced manufacturing programs has spread, more counties are considering new programs in this area or incorporating manufacturing skills into existing programs.

“Parents and potential students have heard about our program and are eager to learn more about this hands-on real world experience in high school and the ability to train for a successful career in what has become a very high-tech industry,” said Dr. Bonsall of BCIT.

“The students just love it because they are so engaged,” Dr. Harttraft said.  “Kids today are wired to create things.  They take a project and think:  ‘How can I make this work?’  And they do.”

Bergen Academies 2017 Regeneron national finalists

Jacy Fang and Indrani Das, national finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Indrani Das and Jacy Fang, students at the Bergen County Academy of Medical Science Technology, are among the 40 national finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors.

Indrani and Jacy will travel to Washington, DC, in March to undergo final judging of their research projects, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists, and compete for $1.8 million in awards, including the top prize of $250,000.


Bergen 2017 Regeneron national scholars

Eight students from Bergen County Academies have been selected as national scholars (formerly called semifinalists) in the Regeneron Student Talent Search (Regeneron STS).

Regeneron STS, a program sponsored by the Society for Science & the Public, is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors.

Founded in 1942, the Society has afforded the brightest young high school science students in America with the opportunity to present their original research to nationally recognized scientists.   Each national scholar receives a $2,000 award from Regeneron; competition finalists will be selected later this month.

Throughout the competition, a total of $3.1 million will be awarded to students engaged in science to help them obtain the opportunities and resources that they need to become the country’s next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) leaders.

The Bergen County Academies national scholars and their research projects, are:

Enoch Jiang, from the Academy of Business and Finance – Glutamine Addiction:  An Achilles Heel for Myc-Overexpressing Breast Cancer.

Indrani Das, from the Academy of Medical Science Technology – Exosomal miR-124a:  Novel Translational Astrocyte Repair in Reactive Astrogliosis in vitro.

Jacy Fang, from the Academy of Medical Science Technology – The Living Drug:  A Novel Method of Inducing Stem-Like Memory T Cells from Antigen-Experienced Cells for CAR-T Immunotherapy.

Jiwoo Lee, from the Academy of Medical Science Technology – The “Smart Cancer Drug”:  Targeting Cancer’s Achilles’ Heel with Conditional CRISPR/Cas9.

Christina Ping, from the Academy for Medical Science Technology –  Photosynthetic Production of Thyroglobulin from Inter-Kingdom Thyroid-Algae Hybrid Cells.

Varun Subramaniam, from the Academy of Medical Science Technology – A Novel in vitro Approach to Inducing Oxidative Stress Using UV Radiation in Neuronal Cells and Its Protection by Curcumin.

Andrew Kevin Fong, from the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology – FBXO-25:  A Prognostic Indicator of Effective Cancer Treatment.

Sabrina Josefina Gjerswold-Selleck,from the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology – The Effect of hnRNPM on EMT and Breast Cancer Metastasis.

Bergen County Academies is one of the four high school campuses comprising the Bergen County Technical Schools District.


Cape May County Technical School’s 2016 Business Partner of the Year is the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife

High-tech companies, local businesses, government agencies and even a beekeeper are among the 2016 Business Partners of the Year honored by New Jersey’s 21 county vocational-technical school districts this month.

“The active, hands-on involvement of businesses from all sectors of the economy is the key to successful career and technical education programs,” said Timothy McCorkell, president of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools and superintendent of the Monmouth County Vocational School District.

“New Jersey’s 21st century county vocational-technical schools prepare all types of students for a wide range of careers and higher education.  Employers who help our students understand and experience the real world of work provide a critical aspect of career preparation,” McCorkell said.

Thousands of individuals, companies, trade unions and other employers volunteer their time and expertise as business partners for New Jersey county vocational-technical schools.

They serve on technical advisory boards to ensure that career programs meet industry standards and employer needs.  They also serve as guest speakers, role models and mentors, host site visits, offer internships and scholarships, donate equipment, and hire students and graduates.

“Our business partners share a passion for their work, and a commitment to preparing the next generation for career success,” McCorkell said. “They understand that a well-trained workforce benefits their business, as well as New Jersey’s overall economy.”

Each county vocational-technical school district presents a Business Partner of the Year award annually.

Here is more information on the 2016 Business Partners of the Year recognized by each of New Jersey’s 21 county vocational-technical school districts: 


Barry Bruner (fifth from right), Atlantiic County Institute of Technology’s 2016 Business Partner of the Year, with ACIT Health Science Academy students

Atlantic County Institute of Technology recognized Barry Bruner, of Mutual Aid Emergency Services in Absecon, for his efforts in helping ACIT Health Science Academy students as they seek to become certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) as part of their senior year course work.

“Barry has been a great asset to our health sciences program for the past seven years,” said ACIT superintendent Dr. Philip Guenther.  “He serves on our advisory board, works with our instructors on the program curriculum, offers many student internships at his company, and helps us secure equipment and materials donations.”

Bruner has also been instrumental in arranging the “ride along” experiences that ACIT students need in order to obtain their EMT certifications.  He has also helped secure employment for 13 ACIT Health Sciences/EMT alumni.

“Our students do extremely well at state and national high school skills competitions, and the companies that hire our graduates are impressed by how prepared they are,” Dr. Guenther said.   “That is in part due to Barry’s commitment to providing our EMT candidates with real world experiences, and – even more importantly – top level occupational skills development.”

Bergen County Technical Schools honored John Bryndza, a project engineer at Stryker Orthopaedics in Mahwah.

John Bryndza created the Rover Design Project, which gave students at Applied Technology High School the opportunity to collaborate with a team of Stryker professionals to solve an engineering challenge.  The project evolved from a series of discussions Bryndza conducted with school staff about the skills that high-tech manufacturing companies like Stryker look for in employees, and the educational goals at ATHS.

“These partnerships with businesses are a vital component of successful CTE programs,” said Bergen County Technical Schools superintendent Dr. Howard Lerner.  “They provide students with hands-on, real-world experiences that connect academic and technical studies with professional applications.

“John served as the liaison between ATHS students and staff and Stryker engineers.  He established an easy rapport with our students, fostering an environment where they felt comfortable asking questions, seeking advice, and accepting critiques of their work,” Dr. Lerner said.  “The ATHS staff is now working with him to incorporate elements of quality control into the curriculum, and we look forward to collaborating with John and Stryker to create even more challenging engineering and design projects.”


Dr. David Spang (left), RCBC Senior Vice President and Provost, accepts the 2016 Business Partner of the Year award from BCIT superintendent Dr. Christopher Nagy.  They are joined by BCIT Board of Education vice-president Paula Lee and Board of Education members Kathy Burgess,  Tyler Seville and Leon Jones.

Burlington County Institute of Technology honored Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC), which partnered with BCIT this year to offer two innovative new programs to Burlington county high school and adult learners.

The new College Head Start program will be offering BCIT high school students many new ways to earn college credits.

“Our current Medford campus electronic and computer engineering students can now start earning college credits in their freshman year, and by the time they graduate, they will have completed the first year of an associate’s degree,” said BCIT superintendent Dr. Christopher Nagy.  Plans are underway for the expansion of the program into other career majors, including culinary arts and hospitality, entertainment technologies and performing arts.

Thanks to a $770,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, advanced manufacturing and fabrication machines were purchased for the Medford campus.   This will allow high school students to launch a career pathway in advanced manufacturing during the day and adult students to receive high tech hands-on training in the evening.


Jeffrey Schwarz, director and CEO of the Camden County Workforce Development Board

Camden County Technical School District (CCTS) selected Jeffrey S. Swartz, the director and CEO of the Camden County Workforce Development Board.  Swartz also serves as director of the Garden State Employment and Training Association, the statewide association of workforce professionals in New Jersey.

Swartz was recognized for his on-going support of the projects, initiatives, and programs at CCTS, and for partnering with the district as an Advisory Board member, mentor and employer for over ten years.

“Jeff’s dedication and commitment to our students has had a profound effect on their career education and will help shape their future,” said Dr. Siobhan Kelly, CCTS director of admissions, job placement, and cooperative education.

“He reviews and approves our curricula, and is always willing to serve as a speaker to promote our programs.  He also included students from CCTS on a steering committee that designed the Camden County One Stop Youth Center, and he continues to include them in agency functions,” Dr. Kelly said.


Cape May Tech students work on conservation projects with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife

Cape May County Technical School District’s 2016 Business Partner of the Year is the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife.

For decades, the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife has provided the Cape May Tech agriscience, aquatics, environmental literacy, law enforcement and public safety, natural sciences and pre-engineering students with a wide-range of indoor and outdoor class learning activities, presentations pertaining to career pathways and field work partnerships.

“We’re located in an environmentally-sensitive area of our state.  Our students are very attuned to that and many of them are eager to be engaged in careers involved in protecting it,” said Cape May County Technical School District superintendent Dr. Nancy Hudanich.

“Thanks to our partnership with the Division of Fish & Wildlife, our students have been able to get real-world experiences that increase their understanding of environmental issues and global citizenship, while at the same time building their resumes that will help them in obtaining college scholarships and lead to career opportunities.”


Representatives from Team Nissan in Vineland accept the Business Partner of the Year award from CCTEC

Cumberland County Technical Education Center (CCTEC) honored Team Nissan, of Vineland, for the automotive dealership’s many years of service to the school and its automotive students.

Every year, a member of Team Nissan speaks to the students about potential employment opportunities in the automotive field and stresses the importance of education.  The dealership has been hiring CCTEC students since 2003.  Rodney Wolf of Team Nissan currently serves on CCTEC’s Program Advisory Committee.

“At Team Nissan, we believe community involvement is the key to success,” Wolf said.  “We are a third generation family-owned dealership, and we take great pride in the strong community ties we have built and maintained for over 25 years.”

Essex County Vocational Technical Schools (ECVTS) selected Joseph Jingoli & Son, Inc., the national firm managing the construction of the new Essex County Donald M. Payne Sr. Vocational Technical High School in Newark.

“One of the core principles at Jingoli is their commitment to enriching the economic stability of the communities where they work.  They don’t just run a project; they become part of a community,” said ECVTS superintendent Dr. James Pedersen.  “They decided to make the Payne project not just a building but a real learning experience for our students.”

Jingoli initiated an orientation program for the pre-engineering 11th graders at Newark Tech, presenting sessions on safety, engineering occupations and related engineering topics over a six-week period.  The orientation sessions will continue during the students’ senior year, and they will also visit the Payne Tech construction site and shadow different workers from the occupations represented at the job site.

In addition, as part of ECVTS’s pre-apprenticeship program, students in various building construction technologies are touring the Payne site, with each group concentrating on its own area of specialization, such as electrical, HVAC, welding and carpentry.

Gloucester County Institute of Technology (GCIT) honored Depasquale Salon Systems, a national distributor of hair, nail, skin care and cosmetic products, headquartered in Fair Lawn.

“Depasquale Salon Systems has been an exceptional partner with our district,” said GCIT superintendent Michael Dicken.  “Members of their team serve on our advisory board, and they excel in keeping our cosmetology staff and our students abreast of current trends and industry standards, and they also provide educational lessons to our students and staff.

“GCIT is extremely fortunate to have this highly-regarded national company working with us,” Dicken said.  “Everyone in our cosmetology program benefits from this partnership:  The teachers obtain valuable professional development, and the staff and students gain valuable insight into exceptional strategies for obtaining various state licenses in the field.”

Hunterdon County Vocational School District (HCVSD) recognized Kristyna Barbella-Saja, the owner and founder of KB Multimedia in Clinton, NJ, a video, web development, digital and print graphics and social media marketing firm.

“KB Multimedia has made great contributions to the development of our visual arts and graphics students and to our district’s efforts to recruit new students,” said HCVSD superintendent Dr. Kim Metz.

Working with the district, Barbella-Saja has produced more than 40 videos and multimedia content packages showcasing HCVSD and its programs, including the general HC Polytech recruitment video and features on the Computer Science and Software Engineering Academy, the Fire Academy and the new EMT Academy.

‘While the recruitment videos were great contributions, the personal assistance Kristyna provided to our students was even more valuable,” said Dr. Metz. “Working with the graphic design and commercial arts/advertising classes, she contributed to the curriculum and worked with the students by drawing on her own background and offering suggestions and advice.  Finally, she also provides photography services at Polytech’s annual Awards Night Dinner.  She is a great partner and eager to do anything she can to help our schools and our students.

High Tech High School students sell Hive Tech honey at a local fair

High Tech High School students sell Hive Tech honey products at a local fair

Hudson County Schools of Technology’s 2016 Business Partner of the Year is Antonio Quinlan, the owner/operator of Hudson River Honey and the executive director of the Hudson River Apiary Society, who worked tirelessly to bring the science of beekeeping to High Tech High School in North Bergen.


High Tech students working in the hive with Antonio Quinlan

Students and staff from High Tech’s science, graphic arts, culinary arts, media arts, web design, wood technology, and building trades classes collaborated with Quinlan to create a multidisciplinary, cross-curricular approach to apiculture, the study of honey bees.

Simultaneously, Quinlan supported the student efforts to build a sustainable, non-profit enterprise called Hive Tech Honey that enables students to apply their career skills in the community.  High Tech High School’s apiculture class and the Hive Tech Honey Club seeks to spread awareness about the growing threat to honey bees by sharing their research on High Tech’s own apiary, which explored mite infestation and colony collapse disorder.

In addition to presenting information, High Tech students sell Hive Tech Honey products.  They include locally-sourced Hive Tech honey, honey-related food items from the culinary arts department, Hive Tech Honey t-shirts and wristbands created by the graphic design students, and all-natural cosmetic products including mint and citrus infused lip balms made by the science students from beeswax.

All profits from the sale of Hive Tech Honey products are used to maintain, grow, and sustain High Tech High School’s apiary for research and product development.


MCTS superintendent Dr. Kimberly J. Schneider and General Advisory Committee chairman Dr. Walter Brower present the Business Partner of the Year award to Vivian Tuccillo-Giglio and Rich Tisone of Stout’s Transportation

Mercer County Technical School District (MCTS) selected Stout’s Transportation, of Trenton, a provider of transportation services with a diverse fleet of passenger coaches and buses.

Stout’s Transportation staff members serve on the MCTS General Advisory Committee and mentor students in the areas of automotive technology, automotive collision and diesel technology.

“We’ve hired seven or eight Mercer County Technical School students over the last three years. The students have heart, soul and they are passionate about their work,” said Vivian Tuccillo-Giglio, Vice President of Operations at Stout’s Transportation.

Rich Tisone, the Stout’s project consultant who works with the district, noted that “sometimes, when you mix high school students with senior level technicians, it’s not a good mix.  But the students we hired from MCTS were teaching our technicians computer skills while the technicians taught the teens the ins and outs of the workplace.  It’s a symbiotic relationship that really works for us.”


Middlesex performing arts and technical theater students working with McCarter Theatre professionals

Middlesex County Vocational & Technical Schools (MCVTS) 2016 Business Partner of the Year is McCarter Theatre, in Princeton, which has been working with MCVTS students since 2009.

“This is a tremendous partnership for our performing arts and technical theater students,” said MCVTS superintendent Brian Loughlin.

“Our students attend professional theater productions and participate in question and answer sessions with the actors and production staff.  Our instructor has forged a wonderful relationship with the theater’s education director and challenged her students to be active participants in the relationship, and the McCarter staff have been very impressed with our students training,” Loughlin said.

There have been multiple opportunities for learning and growth for the students, including design competitions, auditions for roles in ensembles, and year-long collaborations with McCarter and other organizations on various original productions.

“Our students have greatly benefited from the professional leadership, experience, skills and education of McCarter Theatre, and we are honored to work with them,” said Loughlin.

Monmouth County Vocational School District (MCVSD) honored Dr. Scott Gygax of FEMERIS Women’s Health Research Center in Hamilton, NJ, for his extraordinary work with the Biotechnology High School (BTHS) internship program.

“At BTHS, the senior internship is a capstone experience through which students are given the opportunity to apply academic and occupationally-related skills at an approved workplace,” explained MCVSD superintendent Timothy McCorkell.

“It’s a collaborative endeavor in which the students and their mentors work toward mutually agreed upon goals.  Emphasis is placed on the application of workplace readiness skills, like communication, teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking,” McCorkell said.

Since the start of the program, Dr. Gygax has accepted BTHS seniors as interns and provided them with invaluable experiences in the biotechnology field.  Dr. Gygax has also served on the BTHS advisory board since the school was opened, and has made great contributions to the development and growth of the program.

Morris County Vocational School District (MCVSD) recognized the County College of Morris (CCM) for the college’s efforts in establishing the high school shared-time Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM) program and in supporting the MCVSD grade 12 option Challenger Program.

Dean Patrick Enright of the Division of Business, Mathematics, Engineering and Technologies was instrumental in determining the course sequence for EDAM students, scheduling the courses, facilitating an orientation program at CCM, finding professors for the program and organizing open houses to promote the program.

Eric Pederson at CCM was key in securing a partnership for the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program and Dean Enright played a crucial role in securing the Space Act agreement for the NASA HUNCH program.

“Dean Enright also helped to revise the articulation agreement between MCVSD and CCM to ensure our high school seniors who choose to take their courses at CCM under the Challenger Program are making the most of their experiences.  He also facilitated an articulation agreement for the district’s adult continuing education programs and CCM,” said MCVSD superintendent Scott Moffitt.

Ocean County Vocational Schools (OCVTS) honored Thompson Healthcare and Sports Medicine (THSM), which has six locations in Ocean and Monmouth counties.

“We would like to acknowledge Thompson Healthcare for their generosity, commitment to education, and assistance in helping OCVTS prepare our students for the workplace or continuing their education to reach their career goals,” said OCVTS superintendent William Hoey.

The company currently employs four OCVTS graduates.  For many years, Thompson Healthcare has sponsored district fund-raising events and contributed to the OCVTS scholarship fund, which enables OCVTS graduates to obtain post-secondary training and college degrees.


The Columbia Bank branch in the main lobby of Passaic County Technical Institute

Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI)’s 2016 Business partner of the Year is Columbia Bank, which launched its unique educational partnership with PCTI in 2005 by creating a fully functioning bank branch in the lobby of the school.

Through this dynamic partnership – the first of its kind in New Jersey – Columbia Bank has provided internship, job shadowing and cooperative education opportunities to hundreds of PCTI students.  The bank itself currently employs more than 20 PCTI alumni, both college graduates and students currently attending college while working.

Columbia Bank staff members serve on the advisory board for the PCTI Academy of Finance and helped develop Everfi, PCTI’s online personal finance course designed to meet the state-mandated high school graduation graduation requirement.

The bank also awards college scholarships to students, sends guest speakers to classes, and participated with PCTI in the Financial Services Outlook Summit at Rutgers University in October sponsored by the NJ Departments of Labor and Workforce Development and Education.

“Columbia Bank’s dedication to PCTI has generated positive and powerful results for our school community,” said PCTI superintendent Diana Lobosco.  “This partnership has been the catalyst in fostering financial responsibility among PCTI’s entire student body, developing skills, meeting goals and extending far beyond the boundaries of our high school campus.”

salem welding students at work full size

Salem County Tech welding students at work

Salem County Vocational-Technical Schools (SCVTS) recognized Holtec International, a diversified energy technology company known as an innovator in the carbon-free generation of power, which is partnering with Salem County Career and Technical High School’s welding program.

Staff members from the company have delivered classroom presentations about employment opportunities at the company and given live demonstrations.   Three members of the graduating class of 2016 gained full-time employment at Holtec’s new production facility on the Camden waterfront after completing the company’s training program.

“We are incredibly fortunate to be working with such a highly-respected, world-wide business partner,” said SCVTS superintendent John Swain.


SCVTHS Automotive Technology Instructor Alan Creveling with 2016 Business Partner of the Year Greg Burchette.  They are joined by Bridgewater Motorworks employees Bryan Salazar (SCVTHS Class of 2003), Brie Glowinski (SCVTHS Class of 2012) and Bill Finn

Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) honored Greg Burchette, the owner of Bridgewater Motorworks in Bridgewater.

The award recognizes Burchette’s efforts in hiring SCVTHS automotive technology students, the many hours he has dedicated to helping SCVTHS become NATEF certified, and his involvement as an active member of the SCVTHS automotive technology advisory board.

Over the past ten years, he has hired SCVTHS students on a part-time basis through the cooperative education program and also for full-time employment upon graduation.

“Mr. Burchette is not only a great asset to our automotive program, but to our entire school community,” said automotive technology instructor Alan Creveling, who nominated him for the award.

Sussex County Technical Schools (SCTS) recognized Jason Nicholas of j2n Architecture in Oak Ridge, who has served on the school’s architectural advisory board for more than 15 years.

“Jason has been an integral part of our program’s growth and industry relevance,” said SCTS superintendent Gus Modla.  “He has employed our students and acted as a mentor through the structured learning and cooperative education programs.  He dedicates time to critiquing and providing feedback on our seniors’ projects and gives professional presentations to the students.  He has also served as a proctor for our technical skill exams and provides curriculum feedback.

“He is an excellent industry resource and community business partner for our instructor, Tom Makris, and the students.  We are very fortunate to have such a strong supporter of our students and career and technical education,” Modla said.

Union County Vocational-Technical School (UCVTS) has honored TE Connectivity/Subcom, of Eatontown, which has provided key financial support and mentoring to the district’s robotics team for the past three years.

“For the first two years, they supported us with a $5000 grant each year, and this past year they added additional money to help cover our expenses to compete at the FIRST Robotics World Championship for a total sponsorship of $8500 over the course of the year,” said UCVTS superintendent Peter Capodice.

The partnership was initiated by Chester Knurek, of TE Connectivity/Subcom, the father of a Union County Magnet High School senior, who volunteers as a mentor to the robotics team.

Warren County Technical School (WCTech) recognized John Smith of Smith Motor Company in Washington, NJ.

Smith is the owner of the company, which has both a Ford dealership and a tractor dealership, and he has been hiring WCTech automotive students through the cooperative education program for many years.

“Along with generous donations, job shadowing opportunities, and serving as a key person on our advisory board, John also has come to our school many times to talk to our automotive students about career opportunities,” said Robert Glowacky, the superintendent of WCTech.