Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto celebrated Career and Technical Education Month with a visit to High Tech High School in North Bergen, where he was honored with the 2015 Career and Technical Education Leadership Award by the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools (NJCCVTS).
The Speaker participated in a round table discussion on CTE with a group of Hudson County Schools of Technology high school and adult students, parents, business partners and teachers, and toured several High Tech High School programs, including culinary arts, broadcasting technology and graphic arts.
He also presented the school with a Joint Assembly and Senate Resolution recognizing February as CTE Month in New Jersey, which he sponsored.
“The future of our state’s economy depends on our ability to develop new businesses and one of the best ways we can do that is to ensure that there is a skilled, talented and focused workforce right here ready to get to work,” said Speaker Prieto.
“That is why career and technical education is so important for our future and why I will continue advocating for more CTE programs, more funding and greater recognition. It’s an investment in our future that we must continue to make,” he said.
When he was sworn in as Speaker in January 2014, Prieto announced that he planned to make CTE a major priority during the current legislative term. He was the main sponsor of a package of bills designed to expand and enhance career and technical education opportunities for New Jersey residents.
Seven bills, co-sponsored by legislators of both parties, were approved by the Assembly and the State Senate with strong bi-partisan support; five of the bills were signed into law by Governor Chris Christie in December.
“Vincent Prieto is a true self-made man who came here from Cuba, and began his career as a plumber, and then became a construction code official,” said Hudson County Schools of Technology Superintendent Frank Gargiulo. “He got involved in local politics and then was elected to the Assembly, representing North Bergen, Secaucus and other parts of Hudson County.
“Even as he moved into one of the highest positions in state government, the Speaker is a man who stays true to his roots. When he said that he wanted to do more for vocational education in this role, I knew that he meant it and would be true to his word,” he said.
Gargiulo said the Speaker’s CTE legislative package, “is already having a positive impact for county vocational schools in Hudson County and throughout New Jersey.”
NJCCVTS Executive Director Judy Savage presented Speaker Prieto with the leadership award. “There is nobody who has been a greater supporter and public champion of career and technical education than Speaker Prieto,” Savage said.
“As a state leader, he understands that employers need a well-prepared workforce to keep NJ’s economy growing. He knows that young people need career-focused education to get on a pathway to success early in the game. But Speaker Prieto did not just talk about these needs; he took on career and technical education as a signature issue for his first year of leadership,” she said.