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Gov. Chris Christie signed four career education bills that expand the state’s existing efforts in a number of ways, including making college-level instruction more accessible to high school students.
The four bills, signed on Dec. 3, 2014, are Assembly Bills (AB) 3334, 3335, 3337 and 3338.
Chapter 71 of the Public Laws of 2014 (AB 3334) requires School Report Cards, which are issued annually to provide information on school spending and academic achievement, to include information on how well each school is advancing the goal of student career readiness.
Chapter 72 of the Public Laws of 2014 (AB 3335) requires teacher preparation programs at the higher education level, beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, to incorporate programming to improve student career readiness such as employability skills and career awareness.
Chapter 73 of the Public Laws of 2014 (AB 3337) requires the Commissioner of Education to establish a four-year County Vocational School District Partnership Grant Program under which county vocational school districts may partner with urban districts, other school districts, county colleges, and other entities to create high-quality career and technical education programs in existing facilities.
Chapter 74 of the Public Laws of 2014 (AB 3338) requires the Commissioner of Education to set up a program under which county vocational schools may partner with urban districts, county colleges, and other entities to create dual enrollment programs with institutes of higher education, through which high school students may receive instruction through courses offered by that institution, either on its campus or on the high school campus. The credit may be used toward a career certificate or an associate or baccalaureate degree.
The governor also vetoed two other bills that were part of the package because of their cost. Those bills would have supported expansion of career education programs.
New Jersey business leaders applauded the signing.
“Career and technical education has become an important economic issue,” said Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA). “Businesses have job openings that go unfilled because the job applicants do not have the skills needed to fill those positions. The enactment of these laws will provide access to quality career and technical education programs.”
Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.
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