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Career Classroom: Apprenticeship Students Return To Ocean County Vo-Tech To Finish Required Instruction

Published Sunday, August 30, 2020
by Bruno Tedeschi/
Career Classroom: Apprenticeship Students Return To Ocean County Vo-Tech To Finish Required Instruction

(TOMS RIVER, NEW JERSEY) - The students in the Electrical Apprenticeship Class at Ocean County Vocational Technical School in Toms River were in their fourth and final year when the Coronavirus Pandemic forced the suspension of their classes in mid-March. 

In mid-August, the students - wearing masks and practicing social distancing - returned to the school to finish up their mandatory 144 hours of classroom instruction. 

Despite the pandemic, there is no shortage of students who want to enroll in Apprenticeship classes in electrical, plumbing, HVAC and machine trades, said Mary C. Beatty-Sharisky, the Principal of Adult Education at the school. 

Beatty-Sharisky was set to retire at the end of the school year, but, when COVID-19 forced schools in New Jersey to close, she decided to put off retirement and completely revise the adult education schedule so the Apprentices could return in early August to complete their hours, while shifting the start of Fall Apprenticeship classes to October. 

With nearly 600 students enrolled in evening Apprenticeship classes, it was no easy feat.

She had to find more Apprentice Instructors to accommodate social distancing and smaller class sizes, while replacing some Teachers who could not return due to health concerns.  

Apprenticeship Programs are designed for adults who have completed high school and have found full-time employment with an employer who provides 2,000 hours per year of on-the-job training.

The employer, or sponsor, must be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. 

The Apprentices work during the day and must also take 144 annual hours of related technical coursework for up to four years in an Apprenticeship Program like the one run by Ocean County Vocational Technical Schools.

Once that’s completed, they are qualified for Journeyman status and can test to be licensed in their Trade.  

In New Jersey, 13 of the State’s 21 County Vocational-Technical Schools offer Apprenticeship Training for adults in evening school.

The majority of students are not members of a Labor Union, which typically offer their own Apprenticeship training classes. 

While OCVTS and most other county vocational schools focus on the Construction Trades, there is a growing movement to expand Apprenticeship Programs to other occupations, including: health care; automotive repair; and science; technology; engineering; and mathematics fields like information technology.  

Governor Phil Murphy launched the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network, an initiative that seeks to make the state a leader for Apprenticeship Programs nationwide and provide options for all New Jerseyans to build meaningful careers across a wide range of employers.  

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