The Senate approved several measures associated with promoting career and technical education October 14,with strong bi-partisan support. The five bills were approved unanimously, with votes of 30-0, as a number of legislators were unable to attend the rare Tuesday session. The bills will increase New Jersey’s focus on career readiness, expand career and technical education programs and opportunities and help to address the workforce needs of the state’s employers.The bill package now moves to the Full Assemlby for final passage October 16. NJPSA supports the legislative package.
Championed by the Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson, Bergen) as well as key members of the Assembly Education Committee including Chairman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) as well as Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex) the bill package looks to promote and expand New Jersey's vocational school programs.
The Assembly Speaker had indicated when he became the Speaker back in January that improving vocational education would be one of his top priorities, citing it as key to making sure all New Jersey students are ready for work in today's ever-changing economy.
"While many focus on college without thinking about a technical career, we have to make it clear that there are also many well-paying careers that can be launched with an industry credential or an associate's degree," said Prieto (D-Hudson, Bergen). "As we work to make sure our economy begins to grow again, employers will look to our county vocational-technical schools to meet this need. We need to make sure our students are ready to go."
The bills released by the Assembly Education Committee:
· A-3334 (Prieto, Lagana) – Require New Jersey school report cards to include indicators of student career readiness;
· A-3335 (Prieto, Diegnan) – Require preparation programs for teachers and school counselors to include coursework to support improved student career readiness;
· A-3337 (Prieto, Jimenez) – Establishes four-year county vocational school district facilities partnership grant program;
· A-3338 (Prieto, Diegnan) – Requires all school districts and public colleges to enter into dual enrollment agreements to provide college-level instruction to high school students through courses offered on the college or high school campus;
· A-3339 (Prieto, Diegnan) – Provides that if a career and technical education program of a vocational school district is taught in an industry setting, the off-site location will be exempt from certain state regulations;
· A-3340 (Prieto, Jasey) – Provides additional state aid to county vocational school districts in which enrollment increases by more than 10 percent; and
· A-3341 (Prieto, Diegnan) – Provides state aid for adult education programs.