Board members and educational leaders from throughout New Jersey got a glimpse of the future of career and technical education during a presentation and discussion about emerging policy directions during the NJ School Boards Association Workshop in Atlantic City.
Marie Barry, Assistant Division Director for Career Readiness, NJ Department of Education, shared a broad vision for career and technical education and career readiness for all students that has been adopted by Advance CTE, the organization of state CTE leaders.
She described to the audience of county vocational-technical school and local district leaders how New Jersey is embracing this vision in the state’s application for the JP Morgan New Skills for Youth Grant, and how this will drive policy and initiatives in the coming years.
A panel of three county vocational school leaders discussed proposed new initiatives to increase the availability of well-prepared CTE teachers, provide industry-focused professional development, and break down silos between academics and CTE so that more career-focused programs can be recognized as addressing both academic and career standards.
Tim McCorkell, President of the NJ Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools and superintendent of the Monmouth County Vocational School District, supported the concept of expanding CTE teacher recruitment, while cautioning that recent regulatory changes may make it even harder to attract teachers from industry.
Michael Dicken, superintendent of Gloucester County Institute of Technology, noted that plans to offer professional development for teachers in key industries will benefit county vocational school teachers and students.
And Brian Loughlin, superintendent of Middlesex County Vocational-Technical School, welcomed efforts to begin recognizing certain CTE programs as meeting academic requirements, which is a longstanding goal of the NJ Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools.