From sustainability to STEM to sports medicine, from aerospace to the arts, new programs offered this year at New Jersey’s county vocational-technical schools are meeting industry needs and preparing students for success in a wide range of career choices.
Here’s a look at some of the innovative new career and technical education opportunities available to students for the 2014-2015 school year.
A new full-time Sustainable Sciences Academy at Union County Tech will give students the rigorous education and background they will need to pursue careers in fields that help develop solutions to the sustainability issues faced on community and global scales.
Twenty-two freshmen are enrolled in the academy’s initial class. Like the students at the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools’ Academy for Performing Arts and Teacher Academy, they will spend their senior year in high school earning college credits tuition-free on the Kean University campus, with the option of entering Kean as sophomores upon their graduation from UCTech.
“We started this new academy because of the rapid growth in careers involving an understanding of sustainability and environmental science,” said UCVTS Superintendent Peter Capodice. “The need for experts in this field is greater now than ever.”
Courses in the program are tailored to three specific career pathways: energy systems/renewable sustainable energy sources and technology; sustainable architecture/design- AutoCAD Revit; and ecosystems sustainability/environmental literacy and human impact. The students’ final project will require them to use smart-growth principles to design a sustainable community.
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District has taken the next step in its “green” technology program, integrating sustainability into the curriculum for the entire student body at the East Brunswick campus.
“We’re part of a state effort to develop a green program of study,” said Dianne Veilleux, assistant superintendent of schools. “Now it’s becoming a school-wide effort.”
In addition to including green practices in the curriculum for students majoring in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, carpentry and architectural drafting, all students will be taught units in sustainability.
A new green lab, opened earlier this year, is designed to incorporate natural light and ventilation while teaching sustainability, and a community garden is being planned that will produce vegetables without using chemicals and with water collected in rain barrels.
The Bergen County Technical Schools Paramus campus and Middlesex County Vocational-Technical Schools are among several participants in the Green Program of Study that have partnered with Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, as well as Burlington County College, to offer students concurrent enrollment in an introduction to sustainability course.
Stockton is known as “New Jersey’s Green College” and offers a wide variety of programs in environmental studies and sustainability. CTE teachers participating in the program worked with college faculty to design the curriculum, which will be taught by collaborative groups of academic and technical teachers whose expertise ranges from physics to electrical design.
Bergen County Technical High School at Teterboro has welcomed its first class of students in the new Aerospace Engineering major.
Aerospace engineers develop new technologies in aviation, defense systems, and space exploration, often specializing in areas such as structural design, guidance, navigation and control, instrumentation and communication, and production methods. They may also specialize in a particular type of aerospace product, such as commercial aircraft, military fighter jets, helicopters, spacecraft, or missiles and rockets.
“We’re going to see tremendous advances in this field during the 21st century,” said Bergen County Technical Schools Superintendent Dr. Howard Lerner. “Our goal is to inspire and educate the next generation of people who will actually invent the future.”
Mercer County Technical Schools has launched a Pre-Engineering Career Prep program through a partnership with Mercer County Community College (MCCC).
High school seniors are enrolled at MCCC, tuition-free, and earn up to 13 college credits. Courses for students in the Pre-Engineering program will concentrate on structural and civil engineering skills, including the mechanics of solids, structural steel design, statics, and reinforced concrete design.
Bergen Academies is working with the University of Rochester to build a new optics lab with a carbon dioxide laser and vibration control table for optics experiments. The lab will allow students to conduct research and help prepare them for careers in biomedical optics and optical computing.
Over the summer, Bergen Academies students attended the Photon Camp at the University of Rochester, where they attended morning lectures by Institute faculty, gained hands-on experience in afternoon lab sessions, and visited a local optics company and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics during the weeklong camp.
Morris County School of Technology welcomed its first class of students in the new Academy for Sports Medicine and Management. The academy is located at Butler High School and is operated in collaboration with the Butler School District.
Careers in this growing industry include sports medicine, injury prevention, athletic training, and rehabilitative therapies. Students will study exercise science, anatomy and physiology, exercise and fitness principles, human movement, injury prevention, athletic training, and health and wellness. They will also earn industry standard certifications in First Aid, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, AED and personal fitness training.
Hunterdon County Polytech has launched a shared-time dance program for grade 11 and 12 students. The curriculum includes dance history, performance, dance nutrition, choreography, and dance production.
Passaic County Technical Institute has added a vocal techniques major to the dance, drama/theater and instrumental music options available to students at the PCTI School of Performing Arts. The course of study explores vocal health and ear training, and teaches students the psychological and physical skills necessary to cultivate their voices, preparing them for career paths in the performing arts.