NJDOE News
For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Richard Vespucci
    Jon Zlock

    609-292-1126

For Release: May 29, 2003


DOE Celebrates Inaugural Year of Career Academies;
Looks Forward to Adding Additional Partnerships for the 2003-04 School Year

Commissioner of Education William L. Librera and the Department of Education today celebrated the inaugural year of the Career Academies program, a successful initiative launched by the Governor James E. McGreevey Administration in an effort to forge lasting partnerships between innovative school programs and businesses across New Jersey.

As part of the program, Commissioner Librera announced preliminary partnerships for the 2003-04 school year. These include plans for both Career Academies and other workforce development programs — both initiatives are based on the premise that students should receive as diverse and complete an education they can.

"It is essential we continue to establish Career Academies and other high quality workforce development partnerships throughout the state," Commissioner Librera said. "Such partnerships only enhance our students’ experiences. They broaden horizons and motivate our students to pursue new and interesting methods of learning. The benefits of Career Academies and other workforce development programs, as we have seen from our four existing partnerships, are infinite."

In announcing the preliminary partnerships, Commissioner Librera said the DOE is in the planning stages for several new Career Academies and new workforce development programs. Details between the DOE and the businesses are still being worked out and partners have the right to withdraw their commitment at the present time, Librera said, but he said he is confident the partnerships will come to fruition.

"We continue to discuss the Career Academy initiative and workforce development programs with many businesses and school districts," Librera said. "We fully expect to announce more programs this summer and it is our sincere hope that the programs we mention here today will be up and running for the 2003-2004 school year."

The planned Career Academies are as follows:

  • Pershing, Sharon Simmons, Director of Human Resources, with Jersey City Public Schools, Dr. Charles Epps, Superintendent. Program: Career Academy for Finance;
  • Merrill Lynch, Joseph Cohen, Vice President for Public Affairs with Trenton Public Schools, Dr. James Lytle, Superintendent. Program: Career Academy for Finance;
  • NJEA, Edith Fulton, President, with Trenton Public Schools, Dr. James Lytle, Superintendent. Program: Career Academy for Future Educators; and
  • Meridian Health, Dr. Yvonne Wesley, Vice President for Community Relations with Neptune Township Public Schools, Dr. Michael Lake, Superintendent. Program: Career Academy of Science and Medical Arts with emphasis on Emergency Management.

Planned workforce development programs are as follows:

  • Merck, Dr. Carlo Parravano, Executive Director of the Merck Institute for Science Education with Linden Public Schools, Joseph Martino, Superintendent. Program: To be named (workforce development);
  • Johnson and Johnson, Michael Bzdak, Director of Corporate Contributions, with New Brunswick Public Schools, Dr. Ronald Larkin, Superintendent. Program: A Bridge to Employment (workforce development);
  • NJ Resources, Larry Downes, CEO with Ocean County Vocational Schools, William Hoey, Superintendent. Program: To be named (workforce development);
  • Biotechnology Council of NJ, Debbie Hart, President with Monmouth County Vocational School, Dr. Brian McAndrew, Superintendent. Program: To be named (workforce development);

The Career Academy partnerships are part of Governor McGreevey’s effort to fundamentally change the way New Jersey’s education and business communities approach public education – as a key to improving schools and preparing the state’s workforce for world-class jobs.

Previously, the Governor and DOE helped launch the following programs:

  • A partnership between Commerce Bank and the Cherry Hill School District to form the Business Academy for Studies and Experiences (BASE).
  • a partnership between Pfizer Inc., the Morristown Public Schools, and Morris County Community College to create a medical science academy;
  • a partnership with PSE&G and Mercer County Community College to create a career academy focused on utility engineering at Trenton Central High School.
  • the Academies at Englewood in the Englewood Public Schools. This academy, which has the support and involvement of Verizon as its corporate partner, features programs in law and public safety and informational technology.

During Thursday morning’s event, representatives from the four academies were joined by a host of dignitaries and other DOE personnel. Key players in both the Career Academies initiative and workforce development programs attending included Adam Pechter, CEO of Prosperity NJ, Larry Downes, CEO of New Jersey Resources and Chairman of the state Higher Education Commission; and Dennis Bone, President of Verizon.

The event included discussion on the importance of partnerships with Higher Education, County Colleges, and Business and Industry entities. All are essential to the Career Academy initiative.

Career Academies are examples of the DOE mission statement: "The New Jersey Department of Education will provide leadership for a superior education by utilizing multiple and diverse paths to success for all children in New Jersey."

For more information, please contact the Department of Education Public Information Office at (609) 292-1126.