(TRENTON) –To bolster vocational education throughout the state, Assembly Democrats Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic), Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset), Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex) and Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic) sponsored a measure appropriating 222,904,769 from the “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for career and technical expansion in the State’s county vocational school districts.
The sponsors issued a joint statement on the bill:
“Vocational school upgrades are long overdue and this grant funding will help bring vocational education in New Jersey into the 21st Century. Many schools need equipment or updated facilities. Vocational teachers must have the proper tools and space to teach job-ready skills. With this funding, we’re making an investment in New Jersey’s future skilled workforce by providing more options for students who do not want to pursue a strictly academic education. Our vocational schools and students will benefit for generations to come.”
The law (A-5889) would provide grants for schools in need of:
- Construction of new buildings or additions to increase the number of student seats;
- Physical plant upgrades required to support conversion of existing space to support a career and technical education program;
- Purchase and installation of furniture and equipment, including technology, in the institution;
- Site improvements related to career and technical education program expansion; and
- Demolition of non-instructional buildings or spaces to accommodate the construction of new spaces that would expand the number of student seats in these programs.
Specific guidelines would determine if an applicant is eligible to receive the grant. Applicants must demonstrate a plan to ensure equitable access for students with disabilities, language barriers, economically disadvantaged students, students preparing for nontraditional fields, homeless students, students placed in resource family homes and students whose parent/guardian has been ordered into active military service.