In recognition of career and technical education month in the state of New Jersey, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney visited Mercer County Technical School’s Arthur Sypek Center in Ewing on Friday.
Sweeney talked to students about their ambitions and their choice to come to technical school as he toured the building maintenance trades classroom and the criminology, health and childcare and culinary programs.
“These are all great opportunities and I’m proud of all the young people here that are taking advantage of this,” Sweeney said.
News Release from the Senate Democratic Office
SWEENEY STRESSES VALUE OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN TOUR OF MERCER COUNTY TECHNICAL SCHOOLS
Senate President Steve Sweeney joined with Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes to tour the Mercer County Technical Schools on Friday where they got a first-hand view of the vocational career programs that provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to secure good paying jobs. The visit was also an opportunity to discuss the value of the package of Vocational Education Improvement bills recently enacted into law.
“Vocational education can play a key role in opening the doors for our young people to obtain skills and talents needed for good jobs and careers,” said Senator Sweeney. “That is why I championed in the Senate Speaker Prieto’s package of bills to promote vocational training. Our students need an array of options to meet their various interests and the needs of today’s workforce. This is all about jobs and a stronger economy, so we need to act to ensure our state is at the cutting edge of educational offerings.”
The legislative package of five bills, enacted in December 2014, will enhance New Jersey’s focus on career readiness and technical education. They will facilitate partnerships among schools, colleges and employers that will expand access to professional careers through technical education, and enable students to enter the workforce with the skills and credentials needed to succeed, Senator Sweeney said.
“We are proud to have Senate President Sweeney here to see vocational career programs that advance the educational needs of students in Mercer County,” said County Executive Hughes. “As we saw today, the culinary arts students produce offerings that compare favorably with the best restaurants around. The sous chefs, pastry chefs and master chefs are learning a timeless art that is in real demand.”
The tour included career programs in Culinary Arts, Criminal Science, Health and Child Care and Building Maintenance Trades.
Mercer County Technical Schools offer 23 career and technical education programs on two campuses. Enrollment is approximately 700 shared-time secondary students, 100 full-time students in the Health Science Academy, and about 350 adults.
By 2020, 65 percent of jobs will require education and training beyond high school, but almost half of these will not require a four-year degree, according to the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce. New Jersey data from the National Skills Coalition roughly mirrors this trend, predicting that about 52 percent of job openings from 2012-2020 will be in middle-skill areas that require education beyond high school, but not a bachelor’s degree.