TRENTON – The Murphy Administration announced today the availability of grant applications for school security, water infrastructure improvements, and enhancement of career and technical education in county vocational-technical school districts and county colleges in New Jersey. The grants are supported by $500 million in bonds authorized by the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act (Act), and approved by New Jersey voters in November 2018.
“Investing in our students’ future is an essential part of building a stronger and fairer New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “From critical school security measures to necessary career and technical education training, this new funding will further strengthen our efforts to ensure that students across our state are equipped with the tools and support they need to succeed.”
“New Jersey students win twice through these initiatives,” said Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer. “The funding will help ensure students throughout the state are provided a safe and secure learning environment, and it will also provide countless students with greater opportunities for success both during and after high school.”
“One of the goals of our State Plan for Higher Education is for every student to have high-quality, career-relevant academic programs that prepare them for success,” said Interim Secretary of Higher Education Diana Gonzalez. “These campus upgrades will enhance students’ access to experiential learning opportunities and equip them with in-demand skills needed to compete in New Jersey’s innovation economy.”
“Funding from the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act will provide critical funding for our vocational-technical high schools and county colleges to expand their programs, giving our students increased opportunities for good-paying jobs and providing our industries with the technical-skilled workers they need,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “It also provides critical funding for programs to improve security and remove lead contamination for our schools. This landmark legislative initiative will create jobs and provide important stimulus to help our economy rebound from the recession caused by the coronavirus.”
The economic viability and competitiveness of New Jersey is inextricably linked to the strengths and skills of the state’s current and future workforce,” said Assemblyman Daniel Benson. “The Securing Our Futures Bond Act will make the necessary investments in career and technical education programs will help us maintain current and attract new high-demand industries that are the engine of economic growth.”
“We are on the path to better aligning our education system, especially our high schools and county colleges, with the needs of our economy in order to equip more students with the skills they will need to take advantage of career opportunities in high-demand, high-growth fields,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli.
“New Jersey’s county vocational school districts and county colleges have established and advanced career and technical education programs, but the demand for such programs far outweighs their availability,” said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt. “Moving forward on this investment will help repair this imbalance, as well as provide funding for school security upgrades.”
The Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act includes:
- School Security: $75 million. This grant funding will help districts implement Alyssa’s Law, which requires that schools have a panic alarm system that alerts police if an emergency occurs. After addressing Alyssa’s Law, the funding can be used for other security measures in schools such as cameras, secure vestibules, and shatter-resistant glass.
- Water Infrastructure: $100 million. This grant funding can be used to address issues of lead in school drinking water, and can be used for water-remediation projects such as service line replacement, water flushing systems, and fixtures that filter water.
- CTE Programs in County Vocational-Technical School Districts: $275 million. This grant funding will support the expansion of CTE programs in the county vocational-technical school districts, including building, expanding, and renovating facilities. Projects under this grant will focus on labor market demands and further the State’s economic development goals. Depending on the scope of the project, projects will be funded up to a maximum of $40 million, and per the Bond Act, 25 percent of total project costs must be supported by the county vocational-technical school districts.
- CTE Programs in County Colleges: $50 million. This grant funding is designed to target key industry clusters as designated by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. These include technically skilled careers that are in demand in today’s economy, such as technology, healthcare, construction and energy, logistics, manufacturing, and financial services. Each county college is eligible for a maximum award of up to $4 million and 25 percent of total project costs must be supported by the county college. Projects funded under these grants will prepare students for high-demand, technically-skilled careers, align with labor market demands and economic development goals outlined in the Jobs NJ: Developing Talent to Grow Business in the Garden State plan, and strengthen partnerships between county vocational school districts and employers and industries that provide technical education and training to employees.
For more information on the grant applications, including timelines, eligibility requirements, and application materials, please visit the Department of Education’s (DOE) website and the website for the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.
The Act stipulates that, when the grant review process is complete, the Department of Education and the Office of Secretary of Higher Education will present a list of eligible projects to the Legislature for each of the funding categories. The Legislature must approve the projects and appropriate funds from the bonds issued.
CTE projects could begin as early as the summer of 2021, barring unforeseen obstacles or delays. Projects for security and water infrastructure could begin sooner, and the Act allows for reimbursement of eligible projects dating back to 2016.