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Each county in New Jersey has vocational-technical school districts that provide the kind of employer-driven high school education programs businesses need. Students at county vocational-technical schools take a full academic program and learn both the industry specific technical skills and the soft skills all employers value – like responsibility, teamwork, communications and creative thinking. With additional employer involvement, students can be even better prepared to meet industry needs.   

What are some of the types of partnerships CTE schools have to offer? 

There are numerous partnership opportunities that can be found in most subject areas and academic disciplines at New Jersey’s career and technical schools. However, the most common examples are:  

  • Classroom speakers and mentorships are opportunities where students can meet with professionals to better understand the world of work. Often, these speaking experiences are in the classroom, allowing professionals to give career advice and industry insights directly to students.  
  • Curriculum writing and advisory board participation allows employers to play a direct role in students’ education and training. Working with educators, employers can share their insights on the skills and certifications needed in the workplace.  
  • Student site visits and shadowing allow employers to open their doors and demonstrate day-to-day operations. Programs like job shadowing give students a chance to see what a specific job is really like, while a workplace tour can highlight a variety of jobs offered at a business.   
  • Hosting or assisting in teaching a course on entrepreneurship allows employers to help students understand the tools and skills required to earn and keep a job while in school or after school.  
  • Internship and apprenticeship experiences provide students an opportunity to try out a job overseen by an experienced professional in the field. These opportunities vary in time commitment and apprenticeships are a type of on-the-job training which may lead to certification.  

What are some of the benefits of partnerships? 

  • Increased visibility and brand recognition – Working with a school can expand your potential market or customer base. Supporting students’ education and long-term career goals can help you reach other students, parents, educators and members of the community.  
  • Additional sales - Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to patronize good business stewards – companies who have a presence and help their local community.   
  • View potential employees in action - Internship and apprenticeships provide the opportunity to observe potential candidates’ performance before hiring. You can assess their “fit” with your organization and preview their abilities.  
  • Enhance supervisory skills of your staff - Allowing your staff to take on the responsibility of mentoring students in the classroom, after school, or during an internship can enhance your staff’s leadership and management skills and improve teamwork and efficiency on other projects.  
  • Cut down on recruitment costs - Hiring interns or apprentices that have an established history with your company can reduce your training and recruitment costs.  According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 80% of interns who are offered a full-time job after graduation accept the job offer.  
  • Retain talent - Research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicates that the one-year retention rate for students who are hired full-time after completing their internships is 12% higher than those without internal experience.  
  • Have a direct hand in student education - Employers will contribute to the job training and education process for current students, or future job seekers, ensuring they have the employability skills to succeed in the workforce.   

What are some examples of these partnerships? 

The New Jersey Employer Coalition for Technical Education develops a list of some of their top partnerships each year. Check out “Career and Technical Education Programs with Employers: Examples Across New Jersey” for more details.  

Who should I contact if I want to partner with a CTE school? 

The New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools has developed a contact form for businesses interested in partnering with a CTE school, available at https://www.careertechnj.org/become-a-business-partner/. The NJCCVTS has also created a single point of contact list for each of the 21 county schools. Check out  NJ Career and Technical Contacts for Employers for more information. 

For additional support, contact:  

  • Jackie Burke, Executive Director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools at 609-392-6222 or by email at jburke@careertechnj.org.

What are some of the questions employers should ask when looking to start a partnership? 

Questions employers should consider when partnering with a CTE school are: 

  • What do I hope to get out of this partnership?   
  • How much time and/or resources can I and/or my business commit to this partnership?   
  • What does the school and its students hope to gain from this partnership?  
  • Are these expectations realistic?  
  • Does the desired school already offer a program or an initiative I can support?  
  • Are there other employers within my field or in the local community partnering with the same school?  
  • Who would be liable if something happened during the time I am committing to the partnership?  

For more information: 

If you need additional information, please contact NJBIA’s Member Action Center at 1-800-499-4419, ext. 3 or member411@njbia.org. 

Updated March 3, 2022