By Dr. Christopher J. Nagy
Superintendent of Schools, Burlington County Institute of Technology
The Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT) new student enrollment is up 100 students for September 2018 over the previous year. The increase is attributed to our enriched focus on construction technology and advanced manufacturing programs as well as 28 other career paths.
A technical education is highly valued in the current economy thanks in part to Burlington County’s Economic Development efforts. Combined with parent and student desire for a return on their education investment and for job options for graduates, more emphasis is placed on earning “stackable” industry credentials with little or no debt and for job opportunities awaiting graduates.
According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, in June 2018, there were 263,000 job openings in the construction industry. At BCIT, we have two high schools and an adult division dedicated to a Career and Technical Education where students earn “stackable” credentials and, for many, up to two years of college credits. The adult division also offers customized training for companies with upcoming Middle States Accreditation in the Fall which will position the division for explosive growth.
Last year, BCIT launched the School of Construction Technology and expanded the number of courses for advanced manufacturing. For the first time, we hosted an Apprentice and Construction Technology Career Expo during National Apprenticeship Week where multiple union shops were represented. This year, the Expo will be held on the BCIT Westampton Campus on November 14. At the Expo, middle school as well as high school students will be able to interact with various unions and participate in hands-on shop displays and simulations. In addition, visits to union shops across the county and beyond will be scheduled monthly for both BCIT high schools to expose students to the trades.
For the first time last year, BCIT hosted the SkillsUSA competition in welding and we anticipate hosting other competitions this year to take advantage of the upgrades to our facilities. We will also launch a Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement and will recognize key alumni who have made a significant difference in Burlington County and beyond based providing role models to our students.
BCIT efforts were recognized by the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce with the 2018 Economic Development Award and the 2018 South Jersey Best of Biz Award for Career and Technical Education