Prieto-led Vocational Education Improvement Bills Approved by Senate

Bills Also Sponsored by Diegnan, Lagana, Oliver, Jimenez, Pintor Marin, Lampitt, Garcia, Benson, Caputo, Riley, Eustace & Mainor

(TRENTON) – Five bills sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to enhance and expand vocational programs throughout New Jersey were approved Tuesday by the Senate, giving four of the bills final legislative approval.
The measures are also sponsored by Assembly Democrats Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., Joseph Lagana, Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver, Mila Jasey, Angelica Jimenez, Eliana Pintor Marin, Pamela Lampitt, Carmelo Garcia, Daniel R. Benson, Ralph Caputo, Celeste Riley, Timothy Eustace and Charles Mainor.
Prieto had said when he became Assembly Speaker 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.
“We have to make clear that there are many well-paying careers that can be launched with an industry credential or an associate’s degree,” said Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen). “As we continue to work to revitalize our economy, employers will look to county vocational-technical schools to meet this need. This bill package will make sure our students are ready to go.”
The bills were approved by the Assembly in June.
“We cannot rest idle while businesses and jobs change and the global economy becomes more competitive,” Prieto said. “In the end, this is all about jobs and a stronger economy, so we need to take steps such as these to ensure our state is at the cutting edge of educational offerings.”
“Vocational training can lead to apprenticeships and job opportunities in the trades for our youth who otherwise may be unemployed and adding to the state poverty problem,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Improving vocational education for our next generation is just common sense in today’s economy.”
The bills:
· A3334 (Prieto/Lagana/Oliver/Jimenez/Pintor Marin) – Require New Jersey school report cards to include indicators of student career readiness, approved 30-0;
· A3335 (Prieto/Diegnan/Lampitt/Oliver/Garcia) – Require preparation programs for teachers and school counselors to include coursework to support improved student career readiness, approved 30-0;
· A3337 (Prieto/Jimenez/Lampitt/Benson/Caputo/Oliver) – Establishes four-year county vocational school district facilities partnership grant program, approved 30-0;
· A3338 (Prieto/Diegnan/Lagana/Riley/Oliver) – 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, approved 30-0;
· A3339 (Prieto/Diegnan/Eustace/Mainor/Oliver/Lagana) – Provides that if a career and technical education program of a county vocational school district is taught in an industry setting, the off-site location will be exempt from certain state regulations, approved 30-0;
All the bills received final legislative approval except for A3335, which due to amendments is set for final legislative consideration Thursday by the Assembly.
“We need to make sure our vocational programs are up-to-date as we position New Jersey for a better future,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This is all about jobs and a stronger economy. We need to take steps such as these to ensure our state is at the cutting edge of educational offerings as our economy changes in the years ahead.”
“A strong vocational school system is an absolute necessity,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “Requiring preparation programs for teachers and school counselors to include coursework to support improved student career readiness is common sense.”
“We need to make sure our students are ready to compete in today’s marketplace,” said Jimenez (D-Hudson/Bergen). “Quite simply, this is about ensuring everyone receives an education that fits their needs and ensures they’re ready to compete and thrive in our ever-changing economy. Vocational education is vital to our future.”
“This is all about jobs,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “Today’s economy demands a workforce with varied educational backgrounds and expertise, and New Jersey will be positioned to succeed if we make sure to graduate students with strong vocational education.”
“A strong economy requires a strong workforce with the education and skills needed to attract and keep businesses to our state,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “This package is a huge step in the right direction toward boosting our economy for years to come.”
“Improving our vocational educational system is key to our state’s future,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “We cannot rest easy when the economy is ever-changing and our young people today need a varied set of skills if they’re to find good jobs.”
“Ideas such as establishing a four-year county vocational school district facilities partnership grant program are the right thing to do in this day and age,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We need to offer as many educational opportunities as possible.”
“We need to do more to ensure vocational education programs are accessible and available as we look to create jobs and revitalize our economy,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “This bill package is a huge step in the right direction.”
“A solid vocational education can mean a brighter future for so many New Jerseyans,” said Riley (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “This package will ensure that better future is easier to grasp, and that will benefit everyone.”
“Job creation and a strong economy is a top priority, and bills like these must be a part of any effort to make our state more attractive to businesses,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Ensuring our workforce has all the skills and expertise to drive our economy and ensure it remains competitive is a must.”
“We need to do more to ensure everyone has the educational options they need,” said Mainor (D-Hudson). “This bill package accomplishes that goal, and we’ll be better off as a state for it.”