Read this article as it originally appeared on NJ.com Aug. 13, 2021.
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners today announced a 30 percent expansion of the Morris County Vocational School with a new Career Technical Education Center, while the County College of Morris (CCM) unveiled plans for a new Entrepreneurship and Culinary Science Center.
Both projects are designed to provide “leading edge” career and educational programs for students and adults alike. The new facilities will be built on the CCM campus, where the college opened its Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Center last year following a series of other expansions focused on providing students with in-demand technical skills.
The new Career and Technical Education Center will add 500 students to the Morris County Vocational School District’s (MCVSD) enrollment, “exposing career-focused and college-bound high school students to the type of specialized skills that will lead them to successful futures.”
“Morris County is positioned as the leader in programs preparing high school students for rewarding careers in 10, high-demand industries, including health care, finance, technology, manufacturing, renewable energy and supply chain logistics,” said Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen Shaw.
“The expansion at CCM focuses on business entrepreneurship, hospitality and logistics, and it complements the recently added manufacturing/engineering and music technology buildings,” Shaw addd.
Funding for the projects is being provided by Morris County and the state Securing Our Children’s Future (SOCF) Bond Act.
“The county will provide $14 million in capital and additional operating funds over 10 years for the school of technology expansion, and $1.3 million for the CCM expansion,” said County Commissioner John Krickus, who serves as the board’s liaison to both schools.
He noted that the total cost of the new Career Technical Education Center will be $24.8 million with $6.2 million from the county and $18.6 million from state. The CCM Entrepreneurship and Culinary Science Center total cost will be $5.3 million, with $1.3 million from the county and $4 million from the state. Both projects have a proposed opening date of 2024.
The MCVSD developed plans for the Career and Technical Education Center based on what educational skills and training were in demand in Morris County and northern New Jersey, and by working with private sector partners.
“One of our greatest frustrations has been turning away capable students from training in a chosen career pathway due to space limitations. This Career and Technical Education Center will afford us an opportunity to expand our program offerings to a larger and more diverse group of high school juniors and seniors,” said MCVSD Superintendent Scott Moffitt.
“The collaboration between Morris County Vocational School District and CCM creates a ‘career pathway on-ramp’ for students at an age where occupation and employment become a greater focus for both students and their parents alike,” Moffitt continued.
The MCVSD expansion will operate on a share-time model for high school juniors and seniors. It will focus on workforce development and offer students industry credentials, work-based and project-based learning opportunities and up to 18 college credits. The project expands on the existing, strong partnership the school district has with CCM to provide high school students the opportunity to earn college credits, industry-valued credentials and access to an associate degree, either upon high school completion or one year after graduation.
Plans for the Entrepreneurship and Culinary Science Center were developed by CCM in response to Morris County business and community leaders looking to accelerate entrepreneurial growth in the area.
“As the community’s college, the mission of CCM is to assist with the growth of the region and to provide people with opportunities to realize their dreams for a better future,” said Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of CCM.
“This center builds upon our already successful programs and strong partnerships with business and industry so more individuals can gain a pathway to a rewarding life for themselves, their families and communities,” Iacono said.
Students enrolled in the new entrepreneurship and culinary programs will work with an ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ who will mentor students, foster internships and assist with developing pathways for employment. The new programs include business degree options focused on entrepreneurship and certificates in hospitality management and event planning, inventory management, logistics and supply chain management.
Additionally, the center will allow CCM and MCVSD to develop a dual-enrolled program for high school students interested in earning college credits toward a business degree.
“The Morris County Chamber of Commerce and Morris County Economic Development Corporation are proud to support the creation of the Career Technical Education Center and the Entrepreneurship and Culinary Science Center at CCM,” said Meghan Hunscher, president of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.
Hunscher continued, “These two facilities will help lay the foundation for continued economic growth in the county on three fronts. The CTEC will prepare students for future careers in focused growth sectors needing workers. Meanwhile the ECSC will provide young entrepreneurs with the training and mentoring they need to found the new businesses that are essential to driving economic growth. In addition, the center will provide essential support to many mid-career professionals and baby boomers seeking new opportunities and resources to follow through on new business ideas.”