NJ Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools recognizes Prieto with Leadership Award after Roundtable Discussion, School Facility Tour
NORTH BERGEN, NJ – As a beneficiary of career-focused education himself, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) has always had a passion for providing students with the skills necessary to pursue different paths to success. That interest has directly influenced his legislative agenda, as he sponsored a package of bills signed into law recently that are promoting and improving vocational secondary education in New Jersey. In recognition of his efforts and of February being Career Technical Education (CTE) Month, Speaker Prieto attended a wide-ranging event yesterday at High Tech High School in North Bergen, N.J. The event was organized in partnership with the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools (Career Tech NJ), the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and the Hudson County Schools of Technology.
"Students at High Tech High School are exposed to a rigorous academic curriculum that prepares them well to gain acceptance to top colleges. But that path is not necessarily for everyone and there are many other options that can provide a successful and fulfilling career," said Speaker Prieto, who works as a Construction Code Official and is a Plumber by trade. "This is why the school's strong career-focused programs are so important and should serve as a model for other school districts in our state. Students here have the opportunity to explore fields as varied as culinary arts, media production, graphic design, science and technology and much more and they are building the skillset needed to fill the jobs of tomorrow."
Speaker Prieto also acknowledged the leadership and contributions to career and technical education by Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, citing his support of current HCST programs and of the district's planned new campus in Secaucus that will enable it to provide even more opportunities for Hudson County students.
"As an educator himself, Tom DeGise understands the need for new school facilities so that we can continue to offer our students the opportunities they deserve," said Speaker Prieto. "Tom's support for HCST has been critical for both its growth as one of our state's leaders in career focused education and for its future new campus in Secaucus that will take it to the next level."
The event began with a Roundtable Discussion on the current state and future of CTE, including how legislation sponsored by Speaker Prieto is creating a positive impact. In addition to the Speaker it included Judy Savage, Executive Director of New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools, Tyler Seville, Associate Director of New Jersey Business and Industry Association, Frank Gargiulo, Superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology, Daniel Gans, President of the HCST Foundation and of Hoboken Brownstone Development, Andrew Campbell, CEO of Eastern Millwork Inc. who was awarded the district's Business Partner of the Year Award, HCST students and faculty and more.
"Ever since he took office last year, Speaker Prieto has been our champion and the strongest advocate of career and technical education in the state," said Judy Savage, Executive Director of NJ Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools at the event. "He has truly put us on the map and we are very excited for the next steps and what they will mean for the students of our state and our economy."
Following the Roundtable, Superintendent Gargiulo led the group on a tour of HTHS facilities. This included stops at the school's Culinary Arts kitchen, Graphic Design studio, Audio Technology department, TV Production studio and more. Later, the group proceeded to the school's Black Box Theater, where HTHS Drama students stage award-winning productions. Speaker Prieto presented a resolution from the State Senate and Assembly honoring CTE Month there, and was then interviewed on-camera by HTHS Broadcasting students. Later, Judy Savage presented Speaker Prieto with the CTE Leadership Award in recognition of his tireless advocacy for career focused education.
"The future of our state's economy depends on our ability to develop new businesses and one of the best ways we can do that is to ensure that there is a skilled, talented and focused workforce right here ready to get to work," said Speaker Prieto. "That is why Career and Technical Education is so important for our future and why I will continue advocating for more CTE programs, more funding and greater recognition. It's an investment in our future that we must continue to make."
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