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Innovative Tech High School Coming to Bergen County in 2025

Innovative Tech High School Coming to Bergen County in 2025

Groundbreaking Ceremony Marks a New Beginning

Bergen County is set to welcome a cutting-edge career and technical school in 2025, thanks to a generous state grant. On Tuesday, the county celebrated the groundbreaking event for the new school, which will be located adjacent to the Bergen County Technical Schools Paramus campus on Pascack Road. Plans include connecting the new school to the existing campus by sharing a gymnasium.

Focusing on High-Wage, High-Demand Careers

Superintendent Howard Lerner of the Bergen County Technical School District explained that the innovative high school will feature programs aimed at high-wage, high-demand future careers. The first class of ninth-graders will join the school in September 2025, with the facility eventually accommodating approximately 260 students. The school will offer career pathway programs in areas such as dental assistance, design and fabrication, and supply chain management and logistics.

State and County Funding Partnership

Lerner emphasized the significance of the state funding 75% of the construction costs for the school, calling it a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." The Securing Our Children's Future grant will contribute around $26 million to the project, with the county covering the remaining $8.6 million.

The Importance of Career and Technical Education

County Executive James Tedesco underscored the importance of the new school for both the Technical School District and Bergen County as a whole. "As we envision the future of education, it's essential to anticipate the needs of not just education but the workforce as well. That's the role of career and technical education," he said.

Collaboration with Local Businesses and Colleges

The Bergen County Technical School District currently offers 35 career technical programs across its five high schools. Lerner explained that the selection of the three new programs was based on an analysis of the economy, job market forecasts, and surveys of eighth-grade students throughout the county. In addition to hands-on training, career-specific labs, and academic instruction, the programs will feature partnerships with local businesses and Bergen Community College. These collaborations will facilitate internships, mentorship opportunities, and site visits for students.

Preparing Students for the Workforce and Higher Education

The curriculum is designed to equip students with the necessary skills to enter the workforce or pursue further education, whether through trade apprenticeships, two-year colleges like Bergen Community College, or four-year universities, according to Tedesco. "By supporting alternative paths and building a more inclusive education system, this new career technical education school will help ensure that Bergen County remains competitive in the 21st-century global economy," Tedesco said.

Addressing Workforce Shortages in New Jersey

Last year, New Jersey state lawmakers also pushed forward legislation aimed at promoting job opportunities for high school and college students in manufacturing and skill-based fields to tackle workforce shortages in the state. The Manufacturing in Higher Education Act requires state agencies to collaborate with the business sector to develop manufacturing career pathways to be implemented by county colleges and vocational and technical schools. In 2020, New Jersey had an average of 244,000 manufacturing employees, with an average annual compensation of $97,281 in 2019, according to data from the National Association of Manufacturers, an advocacy group for the industry.

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