EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - A delegation of industry representatives from China toured the East Brunswick Campus of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools Oct. 17, visiting the classrooms of six career majors and hearing presentations by members of the school district’s administration.
Twenty-five visitors from Hangzhou in eastern China, a metropolitan area of more than 21 million people, interacted with students and teachers in automotive technology, machine tool technology, pre-engineering and advanced manufacturing, multimedia art and digital design, architecture technology, and baking classrooms.
The tour was arranged by Amanda Wen, program coordinator for Rutgers University Global-Professional Development and Training, which was hosting the Chinese delegation.
The group was greeted by MCVTS Superintendent of Schools Dianne D. Veilleux and East Brunswick Campus Principal Michael Cappiello. Cappiello and Assistant Principal Kelly Nakielny were aided by Wen and another translator from Rutgers on the 90-minute tour.
“They’re interested in how we train our students to enter the workforce,” Wen said.
“You will be visiting specialized classrooms,” Veilleux told the group. “What you’ll see are our students and teachers in action.”
The visitors had many questions as they moved from classroom to classroom, including asking about the qualifications of the faculty. Cappiello told them that teachers come from both academic backgrounds and from long careers in industry, and all are certified in their fields by the state Department of Education.
Pre-engineering teacher Stephen Mercadante told the group his students would demonstrate “everything to automate the factory” with brief presentations on robotics, flow control and automated assembly.
After the tour, Dawn Lystad, MCVTS director of adult education, gave a presentation on apprenticeship programs for adults, and Sean McDonald, director of career and technical education, spoke on pre-apprenticeship partnerships for high school students. The group also heard from Breanna Datello, of NJ CAR, which is partnering with MCVTS to offer apprenticeship to new-car service technicians, and Lisa Ferrier, guidance counselor at the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge, who explained how students are advised on college and career decisions.
Representatives of the group presented traditional Chinese silk fans to Veilleux and Cappiello.
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, the first full-time county vocational school district in the nation, has campuses in East Brunswick, Edison, Perth Amboy, Piscataway and Woodbridge, offering 34 career majors. More information is available at www.mcvts.net.