Two New Jersey Manufacturers recently hosted visits from three county vocational technical schools that offer programs geared to meeting the needs of manufacturers. Brewster Washers in Fairfield hosted Passaic County Technical Institute and Morris County School of Technology. Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School visited Premier Die Casting in Avenel. New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP) has been working with manufacturers and schools to set up visits that give students in these programs the opportunity to see the vast career opportunities available in manufacturing.
Manufacturers in the State are faced with a shortage of skilled workers. In trying to better meet the needs of these employers, New Jersey responded by establishing programs in the county vocational-technical school districts. Not all county vocational-technical schools offer manufacturing related programs.
The presidents of both manufacturers, Sal Freda of Brewster Washers and Leonard Cordaro of Premier Die Casting explained to the students that they, and the industry at large, need skilled workers. Mr. Freda spoke of apprenticeship opportunities with him and Mr. Cordaro shared information on the NADCA (North American Die Casting Association) scholarship.
In addition to the schools mentioned above, Applied Technology High School in Bergen County offers an advanced manufacturing and engineering technology program that is operated through a partnership with Bergen Community College and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). ACTH students build drones, electronic instruments and drive programs such as the Woman in Leadership panel that students proposed to Andrea Sheridan, Principal and Assistant Superintendent of the Bergen County Technical Schools.
Many of the students in these programs participate in HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware). “The opportunity to visit local manufacturers has given our Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM) students a much better understanding of the types of manufacturers in our area and what, specifically, these manufacturers do for their clients. Through visits that NJMEP has arranged, our students understand how what they have learned in the EDAM and NASA HUNCH programs applies to the real world,” explains Shari Castelli, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Morris County Vocational School District. Her EDAM students spend one half of their day at County College of Morris and the other half at Morris County School of Technology in Denville.
The Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) students that visited Brewster Washers participate in its Manufacturing Technology program while the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School students who visited Premier Die Casting on two different occasions were from its Pre-Engineering & Manufacturing program and its Machine Tool Technology program. Students from both programs are ready for the job market i.e., trainable employees for specific shop/industry needs.
John W. Kennedy, Ph.D, CEO of NJMEP explained the importance of these school trips… “If students don’t see manufacturing first hand they won’t know the opportunities that are there for them. Students can come right out of these programs and land a job. Manufacturers need these skilled workers. If it weren’t for our manufacturers that open their doors, students wouldn’t have these experiences. I really appreciate our manufacturers doing this… hosting 30 students are not easy for a small manufacturer.”