Pennsauken, NJ (February 25, 2022) – In celebration of National Public Schools Week and National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, Congressman Donald Norcross and Camden County Commissioner Jonathan Young visited and toured the Pennsauken Campus of Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS) on Friday, February 25th.
Representative Norcross serves the 1st Congressional District in New Jersey which includes Camden and Pennsauken Township, and he is a proud 40-year veteran of the labor movement. He is the only licensed electrician in Congress and member of the IBEW.
“As a proud product of New Jersey public schools and an electrician by trade, I couldn’t be happier to celebrate the technical programs that are equipping current students with the skills they need to pursue careers in the skilled vocations,” Congressman Norcross said. “Different people need different educational paths. I didn’t go the traditional route. I pursued a registered apprenticeship, learned hands-on, and had a fulfilling career. New Jersey public school students enrolled in technical schools are fortunate to have these career-ready skills when they graduate high school.
Commissioner Jon Young is a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), a Council Representative with the Eastern Atlantic State Regional Council of Carpenters (EAS) Mullica TWP Team Room/Local 255, and he is serving his second term as a Camden County Commissioner.
“Camden County Technical Schools have always done an incredible job at setting up our young people for success. The students who move through the programs at CCTS are taught with skills that will allow them to flourish in their professional careers,” Young said. “As a member of a trade union, I was thrilled to have the chance to meet with the students currently enrolled in these programs to talk with them about their plans to work in the vocations once they graduate from high school.”
“The in-depth career training programs at CCTS, along with our rigorous academic courses and character education initiatives, prepare our students for employable, lucrative careers and for life,” said Pat Fitzgerald, superintendent. “I am very proud to share that throughout our district’s 90+ year history, we have thousands of CCTS successful graduates who continued in their chosen career paths. We have graduates who own their own businesses and/or work as master electricians, master plumbers, construction managers, and chefs. Others have attended college and pursued advanced degrees or entered the military with skills.”
Manuel A. Abreu, a 2010 graduate of the carpentry program at the Pennsauken Campus of CCTS, is now a licensed contractor and the owner of Belen Home Improvement in Pennsauken Township. He has hired our graduates, serves on the district’s career advisory committee, and he is an inspiration and role model.
Gabrielle Walker of Gloucester Township is senior in Construction Property Managment at the Gloucester Township Campus of CCTS. She was recently accepted into the Carpenter’s Union and starts the week after graduation. “I was always a creative person, and I applied to CCTS to pursue that passion and learn the skills I need to be successful in the field,” Gabrielle said. “I am so excited for this opportunity and hope to work my way up into management.”
Sydney Rand of Merchantville is a sophomore at the Pennsauken Campus of CCTS. She proudly boasts being a legacy student as her mother, two brothers, and cousin are CCTS graduates and they are working in the fields for which they were trained. “My mother was in Business Technology and is now an Office Manager, my brother graduated from Information Technology and is an IT specialist, and my other brother graduated from Electric and applied to be a member of the IBEW,” Sydney said. “I chose carpentry for my career major and plan to pursue it after graduation. I just finished making custom end tables and am working on the finger joints now for the drawers. It’s so fulfilling to be able to create something with your hands and see the final product.”
Xavier Alicia–Coward of Pennsauken is a senior at the Pennsauken Campus of CCTS and is enrolled in the welding career program. In eighth grade, he was not sure which career path to choose at CCTS, but his grandfather is a welder and he always found it interesting. “I love welding,” stated Xavier. “I recently purchased my own MIG machine so that I can do projects at home. I am also preparing for the State SkillsUSA competition where I will showcase my skills in MIG, stick and TIG welding. I have numerous opportunities after I graduate and am exploring those options such as joining the Pipefitters Union.”
Xavier Mathis of Cherry Hill is a senior in Culinary Arts. His passion for cooking began when he was in middle school and would cook alongside his mother at home. “My grandfather was a chef and his father before him,” Xavier said. “I am proud to carry on the family tradition and am glad I chose Penn Tech for high school to get a head start. I currently work part-time as a chef and plan to open my own catering business one day. The skills I learned in Culinary Arts were invaluable to me.”
New Jersey’s 21 county vocational-technical school districts have become national models for preparing high school students for college and careers in the 21st century. They are the schools of choice for more than 31,000 students who want more out of high school. Today’s career and technical education programs link rigorous academics, technical knowledge and real-world experience to better prepare high school students for post-secondary studies and challenging careers.