The HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) recognized the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools with its HINJ Excellence in STEM Education Award at the council’s September board meeting.
HINJ honored the Council and its members for their leadership in STEM education, bolstering New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem, and guiding students on their career path.
HINJ President and Chief Executive Officer Dean J. Paranicas noted that STEM education is important to HINJ, whose members include many of the world’s leading research-based biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies.
“HINJ members work every day to discover and bring to market cutting-edge science to treat and cure diseases like COVID-19,” Paranicas said. “This is not possible without having a talented workforce, which in many cases starts with our county vocational-technical schools introducing students to careers in the life sciences.”
In presenting the award, HINJ Board of Trustees Chair Jack Cox, senior director of market access strategy at Novo Nordisk Inc., said, “New Jersey has long been known as the ‘medicine chest of the world’ for our world-renowned cluster of life science companies.
“To sustain our global standing, they require a steady pipeline of STEM-trained workers to research, develop and manufacture new medicines and medical devices to cure disease and improve the quality of life for patients.”
“Our state’s life sciences industry depends on educational institutions like our county vocational- technical schools to introduce and set students on the path to careers in the life sciences,” Cox added.
In accepting the award, Morris County Vocational School District Superintendent Scott Moffitt, president of the Council, said, “We are grateful for the recognition of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey, which represents one of our state’s most prominent and respected STEM industries. Thank you for this award, and for being such a strong and committed partner of county vocational-technical schools and a champion of STEM education in our state.”
Judy Savage, Executive Director of the Council, added that being recognized with the HINJ STEM Award is “a great honor for all of our schools,” noting that business partners, such as HINJ and its member companies, “are vitally important to our schools. The relationship with county vocational-technical schools is also critical for employers in all industries whose success depends on a highly skilled workforce.”
Career and technical education is in high demand, and New Jersey’s 21 county vocational-technical school districts experienced a 41 percent increase in enrollment since 2000, with more than 35,000 high school students enrolled in state-approved career and technical education programs, Savage said. Health sciences is the top career program with over 4,600 students enrolled, followed by other STEM programs in engineering, agriculture and life sciences, and computer science and information technology.