County’s 25 Percent Match Guarantee Strengthens Grant Application for New Facility and Programs Expanding Career and Technical Education by More Than 400 Students Annually
SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to guarantee the 25 percent match for the Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School’s grant application to greatly increase Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the highly regarded high school. The application, submitted under New Jersey’s Securing our Children’s Future Act, is to expand existing and create new programs that prepare students for future high-demand, technically-skilled careers in industries such as health care, green technologies, software and application development, and advanced manufacturing.
“Our country’s economy and labor market are changing as fast as ever, and we owe it to our young students to provide them the best training and education to have long, successful careers in emerging industries,” said Commissioner Doug Singleterry, liaison to the Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School. “Investing in Somerset County’s highly-successful Vo-Tech is an easy decision for all of us, and we are confident that they will use a grant award combined with our match and guarantees to benefit their students and Central Jersey’s employers.”
The Commissioners voted to provide the 25 percent match should the Vo-Tech win the award in the highly competitive grant process. The full combined grant and county match funding of $23 million will be used to construct a new state-of-the-art facility dedicated to CTE on the current Bridgewater campus, and support an increased enrollment of at least 400 students per year expected to begin in 2024.
“The County Commissioners are committed to supporting education that supports green and other next-generation industries, and this vote today marks a much-needed investment to our Vo-Tech,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Sara Sooy. “We will continue to work with our existing local companies, recruit new businesses to come to the area, and ensure that our workforce is prepared to support the economy that emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Securing Our Children’s Future Act was passed by public referendum in 2018 and provides $500 million in total infrastructure funding for New Jersey’s vocational and technical schools as well as certain other infrastructure projects. The granting process for allocating the funds is highly competitive, and there are likely to be more funding requests than there are funds to distribute. The Board of Commissioners’ resolution guaranteeing they will offer the 25 percent match, gives the Somerset County Vo-Tech a greater score in the competitive grant process and increases the likelihood of an award.