Trade vs Diploma, the lead article in the Sunday, September 25 @Issue section of several NJ newspapers, featured a Q&A with NJCCVTS President and Monmouth County Vocational Technical School District Superintendent Tim McCorkell on 21st century high school career and technical education and the added value it brings to all students, whether they are headed to college or plan to go directly into the workforce.
Today’s NJ county vocational-technical high schools are not longer “your grandfather’s vocational schools,” he said.
“Career and technical education has evolved to prepare students for college and careers, so students can explore their career interests in high school without giving up their college goals,” McCorkell said. “Courses that are more rigorous, more relevant, and aligned to the region’s employment needs ensure that they will be ready to succeed in higher education, with clear academic goals and a strong career focus.
“A four-year college is a very expensive career exploration program. And too many students never complete their degrees because they lack clear goals and keep changing their majors, which extends the time and cost,” he said.
McCorkell said the 32,500 students at NJ county vocational-technical schools, “are some of the most focused and hardest-working young people in New Jersey high schools today. They complete real-world projects, gain work experience through internships, and earn college credits and industry credentials.
“Many studies say that most kids think high school is boring and irrelevant to their lives. CTE students get more out of high school because they see how learning relates to their interests and future careers,” he said.