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Career readiness bill package on Gov. Christie’s desk

A package of bills designed to improve career readiness for high school students in the Garden States that don’t plan to purse a college education was approved Oct. 14 by the state Senate. 

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Creatas Images, ThinkStock

The Assembly previously passed the measures and the bill package is now on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.

“In 2020 there will be available jobs that you will not need a four-year degree for, but you will need some kind of technical expertise in,” said Senate Education Committee chairperson Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark). “We’re seeing some trajectories in certain studies that it doesn’t have to be an undergrad (degree), that it could be some kind of certification program.”

One of the bills included in the package would require New Jersey school report cards to include indicators of career readiness.  Another bill would require preparation programs for teachers and school counselors to improve student career readiness.

“What we need to do as a state and as a country is continue to align our curriculum with where there is actual job placement. What these bills do is recharging and realigning our training programs to ensure that there’s job placement at the end of those certifications,” Ruiz said.

The package also includes a bill that would require public colleges to enter into dual enrollment agreements with school districts to provide college-level courses to high school students. Another bill would allow career and technical education programs that are taught in an industry setting to be exempt from certain state regulations.

The Senate was scheduled to vote Tuesday on bills to require state aid for county vo-tech schools and certain adult education programs. The measures were held because there were not enough Democrats in attendance to ensure passage, according to Ruiz.

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