The New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools joined with ROI-NJ to host a panel discussion about career and technical education in New Jersey at Forsgate Country Club on Dec. 5, 2019.
The panel discussion was hosted by ROI-NJ Editor Tom Bergeron and featured Judy Savage, executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools, John W. Kennedy, CEO of New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Howard Lerner, superintendent of Bergen County Technical Schools, Tom Brennan, chief information officer at Mandelbaum Salsburg P.C., Greg Lalevee, business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825.
Savage highlighted evolution of career and technical education from a time when vocational technical schools used to prepare students for specific job to what are now career and technical schools that are preparing a broader range of students for a wide range of careers.
“Vocational education used to be offered in place of traditional academic learning,” Savage said. “Today’s career and technical education is aligned with math and science, as well as core skills like communication, problem-solving and teamwork, to ensure that students will be well-prepared to succeed in a technology-driven global economy.”
Savage said whether college is in their immediate future, or something they might pursue down the road to advance their career, all young people need to be prepared for a lifetime of professional learning.
Demand for CTE in New Jersey is exploding, with more students and parents clamoring for these career-focused opportunities than our schools can serve, Savage noted.
“Enrollment is up more than 34% since 2000, and NJ’s county vocational-technical schools are forced to turn away more students than they accept each year,” Savage said. “In 2017, almost 17,000 applicants could not be served because the capacity of our schools and programs is maxed out. With employers in all industries struggling to fill technically skilled positions, that is a disconnect that New Jersey just can’t afford.”
Lerner discuss the importance of business partnerships in creating authentic carer and tech experiences for students.
“Any vocational technical leader would welcome the opportunity to work with employers in their region,” Lerner said.
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