N.J. coalition seeks more vo-tech traiining to fill in-demand jobs

New Jersey business owners say they are having trouble finding workers with specialized skills.

A newly formed coalition hopes to fill that need with better vocational and technical education.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, an ironworker, said one of the goals of the Employer Coalition for Technical Training is to ensure vocational-technical schools are training students to fill jobs that are in demand.

“We have a crisis in this country, and if we don’t start training people to be electricians and carpenters and plumbers and ironworkers, who’s going to do the work?” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

Vocational education prepares students to earn a good living, said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto, a plumber by trade.

“There are studies that show that about 27 percent of people that go into the trades or have a certificate make more money than people that have a bachelor’s degree,” said Prieto, D-Hudson.

The coalition of business, labor, and education officials also is pushing for an expansion of county vo-tech schools. In tight budget times, though, they said that could take a while.

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