Scotch Plains – Senate President Steve Sweeney Wednesday touted the critical importance of the vocational-technical education bond act approved by voters last November in spurring economic growth, creating access to high-paying jobs and meeting the needs of New Jersey’s leading business sectors.
“Seeing what students are doing at Makerspace, the cutting edge laboratory for technical learning we toured makes it clear how important it was that voters passed the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act,” Senator Sweeney said after touring the program at the Magnet High School for Science, Mathematics and Technology, which is part of the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools.
“New Jersey businesses face a critical shortage of technical-skilled workers, yet our county vocational-technical schools have been turning away 15,000 qualified high school students every year because of a lack of adequate facilities. This $500 million bond issue is an investment in our future, and it will be money well-spent,” he said.
Senator Sweeney toured the program with Judy Savage, Executive Director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools, and Gwen Ryan, Interim Superintendent of the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools, and later participated in a roundtable on vocational-technical education needs with students, teachers and administrators.
“There is a real demand from students, parents, and employers for career-focused educational opportunities that prepare young people for high-paying jobs in key industries right here in New Jersey,” said Ms. Savage. “The Bond Act approved by voters last fall will enable county vocational-technical schools to expand facilities and add technical programs that address New Jersey’s skills gap and enable students to launch well-paying careers straight out of high school with an industry credential or with a two-year degree from a county college.”
Superintendent Ryan said the wide range of career and technical education programs at the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools are critical assets for the economic vitality of Union County.
“We have far more demand for our programs than we can accommodate,” Superintendent Ryan said. “The Bond Act will enable us to help more students get a jump start on career preparation during high school to better meet the needs of employers in Union County and our state.”
Senator Sweeney presented the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools with a ceremonial resolution marking February as Career Technical Education Month in New Jersey.
(Photos 1 Attached (from left): Union County Vo-Tech board members Joan Perkins and Denise Piatnochka; Gwen Ryan, Superintendent of Union County Vocational Technical Schools; Vo-Tech Board Vice-President Jon-Henry Barr; Union County Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski: Senate President Steve Sweeney; students Anya Nordstrom, Stephen Mazda and Massimo Del Pizzo; and Union County Superintendent of Schools Daryl Palmieri)