By Claire Lowe
New Jersey voters on Tuesday narrowly agreed to take on the debt to provide an additional $350 million to the state’s county vocational schools to increase enrollment and program offerings.
Although it lacked support in The Press coverage area, the $500 million Securing Our Children’s Future bond referendum was approved by 52 percent of the state.
The majority of the bond will be offered to the state’s vocational schools through a yet-to-be defined grant program that includes a 25 percent cost share for the school, according to Atlantic County Institute of Technology Superintendent Phil Guenther.
“We are very, very happy that it has passed and that it will hopefully enable county vocational schools throughout the state of New Jersey to expand opportunities for students,” Guenther said Tuesday.
“This will be a game-changer for workforce development in New Jersey and will provide a tremendous boost for our state’s economy,” said Judy Savage, executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools, in a public statement Wednesday.
Guenther said ACIT turns away about half of its 1,000 applicants annually. He said the local vocational school would like to accommodate more programs that are aligned with the county’s economic development plan, such as aviation maintenance, as well as auto body, diesel mechanics, health sciences and building trades…