NJDOE Announces Grant to Increase Numbers of Career and Technical Education Teachers
Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Education has received an $876,081 federal grant to attract as many as 150 new career and technical education (CTE) teachers to classrooms in 29 school districts. The three-year CTE Teacher Pathway Initiative grants will be used to attract industry experts and existing teachers in traditional classroom settings to CTE classrooms.
The NJDOE held focus groups with vocational-technical and comprehensive high schools to hear about obstacles they faced in hiring teachers to address the CTE teacher shortage, especially in high-demand occupational areas like STEM, health sciences, agriculture, and information technology. Dwindling numbers of people are applying to fill vacancies as CTE instructors, and a quarter of all existing CTE teachers are 59 years of age or older.
“One of the main challenges districts have faced in building high-quality CTE programs is recruiting industry experts to the teaching profession,” said Marie Barry, Acting Deputy Chief Academic Officer/Post-Secondary Readiness and Partnership at the NJDOE. “This grant will remove some of the obstacles potential CTE teacher candidates face, and provide opportunities for districts to support industry experts as they make an informed decision to pursue a career pathway in teaching.”
Through the program, prospective CTE teachers will have the opportunity to teach part-time with a mentor teacher in a classroom, while allowing them to continue working at their current job. The grant will help pay for the educator-preparation training that prospective teachers must receive before working in a classroom, as well as provide stipends for the mentors and potential teachers. New Jersey and four other applicants received the CTE Teacher Pathway Initiative grants out of 32 total applicants.
The 29 districts eligible to participate include each of the 21 county vocational-technical schools, as well as eight comprehensive traditional high schools with CTE programs: Cumberland Regional; Elizabeth Public Schools; Freehold Regional; Northern Valley Regional; Ocean Township (Monmouth County); Orange Township; Passaic Public School District; and Vernon Township School District.