New career programs, new course options, new initiatives and expanded opportunities to pursue career goals greeted more than 32,000 New Jersey county vocational-technical high school students as they returned to school this fall.
“New Jersey’s county vocational-technical schools are constantly evolving to meet industry needs and student and parent demand, and 2015-2016 promises to be a very exciting year in that process,” said Timothy McCorkell, president of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools and superintendent of the Monmouth County Vocational School District.
New High School Academies and Programs
Burlington County Institute of Technology opened a new Performing Arts Academy and a new Engineering Academy.
Passaic County Technical Institute’s former School of Criminal Justice is now the Academy of Criminal Justice and Public Safety, thanks to the creation of comprehensive two- and four-year college articulation agreements and high student and parent demand.
Bergen County Technical Schools’ Paramus Campus launched a new “Green Building Trades” program, operated in partnership with the Home Builders Institute (HBI), a national leader in career training in the construction industry. The program incorporates sustainability practices and offers students multiple industry certifications in general contracting, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. HBI is providing pre-apprenticeship training, job placement services, mentoring, textbooks and curricula.
Ocean County Vocational Technical Schools opened a full-time Law and Public Safety Academy for high school juniors and seniors at the Ocean County Fire and First Aid Training Center in Waretown.
Middlesex County Vocational & Technical Schools opened a new pre-engineering and manufacturing technology program at its East Brunswick campus. Middlesex is also now offering graphic design programs at its Perth Amboy and Piscataway campuses in addition to the existing program at the East Brunswick campus.
Hudson County Schools of Technology introduced a new Academy of Technology and Visual Arts at High Tech High School in North Bergen. Operated through a partnership with All Things Media, Inc., a media development firm, the program provides students with real-world work experiences in specialties such as animation and modeling, programming and web design, video production, mass media studies, broadcasting technology, computer applications for business and graphic technology.
Essex County Vocational Technical Schools expanded the career and technical education options available to students with the inclusion of Cisco & C-Tech certifications, teacher preparation, computer science, health sciences, STEM and agriculture, food, and natural sciences programs at various ECVTS campuses.
Union County Vocational-Technical Schools has added a technical theater program in its Academy for Performing Arts, and Passaic County Technical Institute now offers a performing arts major in vocal technique.
Students in the Cape May County Technical School District’s “Green Program of Study” will have an opportunity to obtain OSHA-10 construction credential through a pilot program with Rutgers University. Cape May has also established dual-credit articulation agreements local colleges for students in this program.
And thanks to $3 million in new state grants to support partnerships with businesses, colleges and universities, government, and local high schools, seven districts launched new CTE programs in high-demand industries. Read about them here.
New Academic Course Options
Essex County Vocational Technical School increased the number of Advanced Placement (AP) course selections available to students with the introduction of AP English Literature and Composition, AP Calculus AB, AP United States History, and AP Spanish Language and Culture. The district also added several exciting new academic electives, including zoology, discrete mathematics, and creative writing.
Burlington County Institute of Technology now offers AP English IV and AP World History at both campuses, which are taught through a combination of classroom lectures and on-line work.
Union County Vocational-Technical Schools opened a 30,000 square-foot addition to UC Tech on the district campus in Scotch Plains.
Hudson County Schools of Technology opened a new building in Jersey City for Explore 2000, the only vocational technical middle school in New Jersey. The school’s focus is preparing grade students for the growing job opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through project-based learning.
Passaic County Technical Institute opened a new Automotive Technology Building to house the automotive engine performance and auto collision programs, with cutting edge equipment that meets the highest-level industry standards in today’s marketplace. The former automotive technology area within the PCTI main building in Wayne will be renovated to serve the school’s performing arts program.
Salem County Vocational Technical Schools is adding seven new classrooms and a new greenhouse for the agricultural sciences programs, and is expanding its physical education facilities.
Morris County School of Technology renovated the healthcare sciences and sports medicine facilities to create a state-of-the art healthcare learning laboratory, complete with an anatomage table that enables students to visualize human anatomy, a simulated hospital room, a simulated doctor’s office examination room and reception room, and an athletic training/physical therapy work area.
The Monmouth County Vocational School District upgraded the television and radio studios at Communications High School in Wall.
New Adult Programs
Welding is one of today’s most in-demand skills in the manufacturing industry, and county vocational-technical schools are responding to that need.
Cape May County Technical School District now offers a year-long welding course for adults, providing students an opportunity to attain the American Welding Society (AWS) G1 certification that can lead directly to a range of manufacturing pathways from bridges to boats to underwater welding. The program is aligned to the employment demands of the region and can lead to entry into the Ironworkers Union and the union’s associated apprenticeship training.
Meanwhile, the Sussex County Technical Schools adult welding program has completed the rigorous process necessary to become an Accredited Test Facility (ATF) for AWS. Sussex Tech is just the second ATF in the state and the only public school to have the accreditation.
And Planning for the Future
Three districts are building new schools to accommodate the rapidly-growing number of students who want high school career and technical education opportunities: Cumberland County Technical Education Center, Hudson County Schools of Technology and Essex County Vocational Technical Schools.
“On a state-wide average, our schools get 2.5 applicants for every available seat. We simply cannot accommodate every qualified student who wants to come,” McCorkell said. “Even in a time of tight budgets, these three districts have found a way to increase their future capacity, and we are all very excited about their plans.”
Cumberland will open the county’s first full-time vocational-technical high school next September. It is currently under construction in Millville, adjacent to the campus of Cumberland County College.
Hudson is preparing to build a new home for High Tech High School in Secaucus. The school, currently located in North Bergen, has been featured in numerous “Best High Schools in America” rankings.
Essex is planning to replace the aging facilities at Bloomfield Tech and North 13th Street Tech in Newark with a new school to be built on the former site of United Hospital on S. 9th Avenue in Newark. The Donald M. Payne, Sr. Vocational Technical School Campus – named in honor of the late congressman, a strong supporter of career and technical education – is scheduled to open in 2018.
Other Notes of Interest:
Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne is now the largest public high school in New Jersey, with 3,390 students. The 875 grade 9 students are the largest class ever admitted to the school.
Gloucester County Institute of Technology now has 1,354 full-time students, the most in the school’s history.
Sussex County Technical Schools welcomed 225 first year students, the largest freshman class in the school’s history. SCTS’ total full-time enrollment of 810 students is the largest in many years.
Union County Vocational-Technical Schools in Scotch Plains welcomed a community Maker Space at UC Magnet High School and a virtual IT museum at the Academy for Information technology.