On Tuesday, October 17, Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic), chair of the bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, led a panel at County College of Morris (CCM) to hear from county vocational-technical schools, county colleges and other educators on what is needed to support the next stage of growth in manufacturing in the state.

“It is important that we hear both from manufacturers and from educators at county vocational-technical schools, county colleges and advanced manufacturing institutes as we develop plans for a major vocational-technical and job training bond issue to be placed on next year’s ballot,” said Gordon.

Along with the hearing, the day included a tour of the labs used by high school students in the Engineering, Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM) program at CCM. The EDAM program was launched in 2015 by the Morris County Vocational-Technical School District and CCM. As part of that program, the EDAM students have been gaining hands-on experience developing hardware and other materials for the International Space Station through the national High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program.

“New Jersey’s economic future depends on expanding partnerships between vocational-technical high schools, county colleges and four-year colleges that work closely with industry to provide the technical-skilled workers they need,” added Gordon.

Panelists at the meeting included:

  • Robert Staudinger, President and CEO of Chatham-based National Manufacturing Company and Chair of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s Manufacturing Network;
  • Scott Moffitt, Superintendent of Morris County Vocational-Technical School and President of the New Jersey Coalition of County Vocational Technical Schools;
  • Harold Lerner, Superintendent of Bergen County Technical Schools;
  • Jianping Wang, President of Mercer County Community College;
  • Jacki Belin, Vice President of Strategic Programs and Development, Raritan Valley Community College;
  • Michael Plagianakos, Vice President of Rowan College at Gloucester County;
  • Raymond Vaccari, Director of NJIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Talent Network;
  • Judy Savage, Executive Director of the New Jersey Coalition of County Vocational Technical Schools, who will present a “needs assessment” on the need to expand vo-tech facilities;
  • Larry Nespoli, Executive Director of the Association of County Colleges;
  • Sivaraman Anbarasan, Executive Director of the County College Consortium for Workforce Training and Education; and
  • Sharon Castelli, Assistant Superintendent of the Morris County Vocational Manufacturing Program with students and parents from her program.