State grants provide new career and technical education options at county vocational-technical schools

| May 7th, 2018

Cybersecurity, health professions, digital media and even heavy equipment operations will be among the seven new programs offered through New Jersey county vocational-technical school partnerships next fall, thanks to $3 million in state grants approved by the New Jersey Legislature and Governor Phil Murphy.

For the past four years, the state budget has provided funding for new career and technical education (CTE) programs in high-demand fields that involve partnerships with industry, local colleges and local school districts.

When fully enrolled, the 23 new programs approved since 2015 will provide high quality, career-focused education, coupled with industry credentials, college credits and work-based learning, to more than 1,600 additional high school students annually.

“This grant program has opened exciting new opportunities to eager, motivated young people who want to get a head start on college and careers,” said Scott Moffitt, president of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools and superintendent of the Morris County Vocational School District.

“Workforce development is a major state priority, and this investment in new CTE programs is clear evidence of that commitment,” said Moffitt, whose district has already used grants to launch an engineering design and manufacturing program for juniors and seniors at the County College of Morris, an academy for environmental science at Jefferson High school and an academy for biotechnology at Mountain Lakes High School.

NJ Department of Education news release on the grants

Here are more details about the new grant-funded programs scheduled to open in September:

Bergen County Technical Schools (BCTS) was awarded a multi-year grant to expand Applied Technology High School (ATHS) to include a health professions program.  The full-time, four-year high school, located at Bergen County College (BCC), was opened with the help of a state partnership grant in 2015.

“This new program was a perfect fit:  Industry demand for qualified health care professionals.  Parent and student requests.  A brand-new health professions building on the BCC campus.  And a very successful model in the existing ATHS program,” said BCTS superintendent Dr. Howard Lerner.

Like the current students at ATHS, who study advanced manufacturing and engineering technology, the health professions students will earn college credits and have clinical experiences in real-world situations.

Graduates will be able to enter BCC degree programs with advanced standing in areas such as health science, nursing, paramedic science, dental hygiene, sonography and respiratory care.  A new class of 30 freshmen will be added every year.

Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS) will launch a digital media communications program in partnership with Camden County College (CCC) at the district’s Pennsauken campus.

“Digital media is a key element in all types of communications today, and there’s a great deal of student and parent interest in this field,” said CCTS assistant superintendent Karen DiGiaccobe.

“Employment opportunities for multimedia artists and animators are expected to increase significantly over the next 10 years, and we want to give PennTech students interested in these careers a leg up on their goals with state-of-the-art technology and college credits,” she said.

The grant will pay for renovations and technology upgrades at the Pennsauken campus, fund dual-credit courses at CCC, and increase the number of digital media students who spend their senior year studying full-time at CCC.  The district expects to enroll 30 additional students in each class year.

Hudson County Schools of Technology (HCST) has partnered with Hudson County Community College (HCCC) to offer a program in exercise science for students at County Prep High School.

“Our medical science academy at County Prep is already the most sought-after program in our whole county vocational-technical school district.” said HCST superintendent Frank Gargiulo.   “Personal and professional trainers and fitness coaches are in growing demand at all types of commercial and clinical facilities, and this new program provides another exciting option for students interested in health-related careers.”

The high school students will take their courses in new, state-of-the art facilities at both the college and County Prep, where they will prepare to take a national certification exam upon graduation. They will also receive college credits and participate in internships and work-place learning opportunities at Hudson County health clubs, corporate fitness centers and other businesses partnering with the program.

“We already have great partnerships with HCCC that benefit all of our students, and this grant will help us both take it to the next level,” Gargiulo said.

Students at a New Mexico high school working with the same types of heavy equipment simulators that the new HCVSD program will use in the new program

Hunterdon County Vocational School District (HCVSD) is launching a two-year, shared-time heavy equipment operators program in partnership with Voorhees High School, the Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825.

It is the first program of its kind in New Jersey for high school students, who will receive hands-on training through simulators in the operation of construction equipment like backhoes, bulldozers and excavators.  See how the simulators work.

Classroom instruction, based on curricula from the National Center for Construction Education and Research, will include blueprint reading, site preparation, job estimating, OHSA 10 certification and preparation for the New Jersey commercial drivers’ license exam.

“Thanks to articulation agreements with local colleges and the union, these students will have several options after graduation,” said HCVSD superintendent Dr. Kim Metz.  “They can go directly to work, join an apprenticeship program, or continue on to college for a degree in construction management or a related field.”

Cybersecurity students at the County College of Morris. Starting in September, high school juniors and seniors will join them at CCM’s nationally-recognized training facility

Morris County Vocational School District (MCVSD) will start a Cybersecurity and Information Protection (CSIP) program for shared-time juniors and seniors in partnership with the County College of Morris (CCM).

“There’s a growing labor demand in the field of cybersecurity, and CCM, which partners with us on several other programs, already offers it as college major in an outstanding facility that has been designated as a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence,” said MCVSD assistant superintendent Shari Castelli.

“Students seriously interested in these types of careers will be engaged in a targeted and intense focus of study that is not available – or feasible – in their local high schools, and get a head start on college and industry certifications,” she said.

Twenty new students will be accepted each year.  During the two-year program, they will take all their technical courses at CCM’s Cybersecurity Center while taking their academic courses in their home school districts.

They will earn a minimum of 39 CCM college credits, along with CompTia A+ and Cisco CCENT certifications, and will have opportunities to participate in Cyber Patriot and Ethical Hacking competitions.

PCTI STEM students explain their work at a recent open house. In September, Passaic High School students will have access to a computer science/STEM program thanks to a partnership with PCTI.

Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) is partnering with Passaic High School (PHS) to launch a new computer science/STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program designed to attract socioeconomically-disadvantaged, minority and female students to the STEM field.

The program, based on PCTI’s successful CTE model that includes partnerships with employers and Passaic County Community College (PCCC), will accept 40 students every year.  It will build on PHS’s on-going work in exposing middle school students to STEM careers by providing them with a rigorous program of study in high school.

“It’s a great opportunity for PCTI to share our expertise in delivering quality career and technical education with one of our local partner high schools,” said PCTI superintendent Diana Lobosco.

PHS students will earn dual enrollment college credits from PCCC and a series of industry credentials, will take advanced placement courses in their academic subjects and will have opportunities for co-operative learning experiences while in high school.


Students in the new REM program will manage the SCVTS TradeWins Cafe, which is open to the public

Somerset County Vocational & Technical Schools (SCVTS) is using its grant to start a new Restaurant and Entrepreneurial Management (REM) program in partnership with Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC).

“Many high school students who choose culinary arts have plans to start their own restaurants, catering companies or other culinary businesses,” said SCVTS superintendent Dr. Chrys Harttraft.  “In this program, while they are learning to cook they will also be receiving intensive instruction in the technical, business and management skills they will need to be successful as entrepreneurs in this very competitive industry.”

The program will accept 20 students each year, for a total of 80 students when it is fully enrolled.

Students will learn about restaurant management by overseeing the TradeWins Café at SCVTS while preparing for immediate employment, post-secondary technical training or continuing education in hospitality-related fields such as beverage management or business management at RVCC.  They will also have opportunities for internships and job-shadowing at local restaurants.

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