Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, Hunterdon County Polytech High School will offer three new shared-time programs: Fitness Specialist, Computer Science and Heavy Equipment Operators (HEOP). Each of the new programs helps prepare students for fields with growing job prospects, and each offers an opportunity to earn college credits or industry certification.
“We listened to the requests of students to receive training in these areas and the requests of industry professionals for skilled workers in these areas to guide us in the launch of our new programs,” said Hunterdon County Vocational School District Superintendent Kimberly Metz, Ed.D. “U.S. Labor Department statistics showing projected job growth in all three fields reinforced our decision.”
The Fitness Specialist program allows students to train for employment as a personal fitness trainer in just one year. Students combine in-class learning with practical experience in the school’s fitness facility. Students assess client fitness levels, design individualized exercise programs and practice teaching proper execution of aerobic, resistance and flexibility exercises. Students can earn the American Heart Association Basic Life Support certification and meet required courses in Raritan Valley Community College’s Fitness Specialist certificate.
The two-year Computer Science program covers a range of foundational topics from programming to big data, in addition to electricity, design circuits and code using Arduino software. First-year students build and program a small robot. Second-year students then advance deeper into robotics and develop a working knowledge of Linux. They have opportunities to pursue a Linux certificate to boost their post-secondary career prospects. Students enrolled in this rigorous program are also eligible to earn up to six college credits from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The two-year Heavy Equipment Operators Program, the first of its kind for Central New Jersey high school students, uses simulators to teach students how to operate various pieces of construction equipment, including backhoes, dozers and excavators. In addition to hands-on training, students also benefit from nationally recognized curricula, including blueprint reading, site preparation, job estimating, OSHA 10 certification and CDL training. HEOP takes place at Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission’s 40-acre training facility, and is in partnership with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825. The program offers articulation agreements with post-secondary institutions and apprenticeship options.
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of fitness trainers and instructors will grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, and that of construction equipment operators by 12 percent. Both are projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Projections for various careers within computers and information technology also appear well above average, but what is more impressive is that the median salaries in 2016 for many of these positions approached or exceeded $100,000.
Interested students for any Polytech programs, including these three new ones, should enroll by March 1 for the 2018-19 school year. Visit http://www.hcpolytech.org/ and click the “apply here” button on the homepage.
Hunterdon County Polytech High School is the largest component of Hunterdon County Vocational School District (HCVSD). Polytech is the district’s shared-time high school that prepares students for a seamless transition to college and career paths. HVCSD also operates an Adult and Continuing Education school and three science-based academies. Learn more at www.hcvsd.org.