Read this article as it originally appeared on Oct. 2, 2021 on MyCentralJersey.com.
Two thousand students have returned to the five campuses of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.
Two new career majors were available to freshmen as the school year began, both on the Piscataway campus: finance, and physical therapy and exercise science.
“Finance has a concentration on banking and investing,” said Sean McDonald, MCVTS director of career and technical education. “We’re developing the curriculum as we go, so we’re starting with ninth-graders this year.”
The physical therapy and exercise science major might lead to careers in rehabilitation, athletic training or personal training.
“There are many pathways to careers,” McDonald said. “We are excited about these programs.”
The physical therapy/exercise instructor, Angela Kompos, has a doctorate in physical therapy, while the finance teacher, Valerie Echolos-Gardner, has experience in both industry and teaching at the college level.
McDonald said articulation agreements with Middlesex College, Rutgers University and the College of New Jersey are being negotiated so that students will be able to receive college credits later in their high school careers. Industry representatives are also being approached to be on advisory committees.
“A big part of these programs will be mentorships in senior year to get workplace experience as well as to acquire necessary certifications,” McDonald said. “The students will be prepared for post-secondary education or to go right into the workforce.”
MCVTS now offers 36 career majors.
“We are thrilled to have our students back in their buildings,” said Robert Mooney, interim superintendent of schools. “We are following all state and CDC guidelines. The safety of our students and staff, as always, is paramount.”
“When the school opened, I was excited to be back to continue my work in my career major,” said Gillian Walker, a senior architecture technology major on the East Brunswick campus. “Walking in, the school felt very clean and very organized. Starting classes in person after a year and a half of virtual learning was very tiring, but all of the teachers were very understanding.”