Ocean County Press Release

OCEAN COUNTY'S Vocational-Technical Schools have long prepared students for diverse careers ranging from marine engineering to culinary arts to plumbing, but Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari now wants to add a new facet to the educational programs.

"We are going to talk to local business leaders about the kinds of training they need for a new generation of workers," Vicari said. "We will offer the kinds of specialized training both our students and businesses need to succeed in the 21st Century."

Vicari envisions a system where students will be trained specifically for jobs that exist in Ocean County.

"While many of our graduates already find employment in Ocean County, our goal is to keep more of this talented workforce employed here within our borders," Vicari said.

Healthcare for instance is one of the county's largest and fastest-growing industries, he said.

"Our nursing programs provide graduates for local hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes and other health care businesses throughout the county," Vicari said. "Following this successful model, we hope other clean, high-tech industries will be attracted to our homegrown talent."

A lifelong educator, Vicari is also liaison to the Ocean County Workforce Investment Board and the Department of Business Development and Tourism.

With specialized training, not only will our graduates find local employment, but businesses will be encouraged to move and expand into Ocean County to take advantage of a highly skilled and talented workforce," he said.

The Ocean County Vocational Technical School already offers career majors in over 40 areas for students going on to college or directly into the workforce.

Classes are offered at eight different facilities around the county.

The Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) in Stafford Township provides some of the county's top-ranked high school students a specialized honors curriculum focused on marine and environmental science.

Culinary arts students receive on-the-job training at Cuisine on the Green restaurant in Little Egg Harbor Township.

"We're training our students so Ocean County will be able to compete in the ever-changing global economy," Vicari said.

Last year Ocean County Vo-Tech graduated 77 certified apprentices in electricity work, plumbing, HVAC and machine trades. Each of those graduates is now working in their specialized field, Vicari said.

The Vo-Tech's programs are geared not just to high school students, but adults as well.

"We have the facilities and programs to retrain adults who may be working in retail or other declining professions and are looking to improve their career outlook for the future," Vicari said.

More information is available on the Vo-Tech website www.ocvts.org

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