Thanks to the support of Senate and Assembly members from both parties, the 2016-2017 state budget approved by the Legislature on June 27 includes more than $7.5 million to support and expand career and technical education opportunities.
The budget is now on the Governor’s desk, where he can reduce or eliminate proposed expenditures before signing it by the July 1 statutory deadline.
The budget approved by lawmakers includes:
$4 million for adult education programs that help out-of-school young people and adults get the training and credentials they need to enter the workforce or advance their careers;
$3 million for partnership grants that will help county vocational-technical schools work with colleges, local high schools and businesses to launch new career programs to meet student demand and industry needs;
$503,000 to support the first-year costs for Cumberland County Technical Education Center’s new full-time, four-year high school, scheduled to open in September.
“The New Jersey county vocational-technical schools community is extremely grateful to Speaker Prieto, Senator Sweeney and many other legislators who support career and technical education for including these funds in a very tight budget,” said Timothy McCorkell, the Superintendent of the Monmouth County Vocational School District and the President of NJCCVTS.
“We are very hopeful that Governor Christie will agree that expanding these opportunities is a key economic and educational strategy to ensure our state’s continued growth and competitiveness,” McCorkell said.
This is the second year in a row that the Legislature has included $4 million for adult education programs in the budget.
The money will continue to be used for expanded enrollment and program improvements in adult career training programs like construction trades, auto technology, health careers, information technology and hospitality – all high-demand sectors in New Jersey – and to support adult high school completion programs, McCorkell said.
The $3 million allocation for the county vocational-technical school partnership grant program, approved by the Legislature in 2014, represents the third year of funding for these competitive grants. The incentive grants support innovative new career and technical education programs established in partnership with colleges, local high schools in businesses in areas such as engineering, information technology, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology and culinary arts.
Seven new programs were started in the fall of 2015 and six new programs will be available to students this September.
After many years of planning, Cumberland County Technical Education Center is making the transition from a shared-time county vocational technical school to full-time. The new career and technical high school, under construction adjacent to Cumberland County College, will open in September, adding 200 new freshmen each year and a full range of academic and technical programs.