Karen L. Homiek, Superintendent

Karen Homiek

Ocean County Vocational Technical School – Culinary Arts

Ms. Homiek shared a little about the district with the hope that the attendees will be intrigued enough to want to visit our buildings.

OCVTS has 6 buildings, sprinkled throughout the county. 4 of our centers are shared time centers only. The students in these programs attend classes in their sending districts for half of a day and spend the other half of the day at one of our centers. I provided a pamphlet with information on the programs offered in all of the buildings. I pointed out that some of our programs are in multiple buildings. For instance, Cosmetology has 2 classrooms in Brick, 1 in Toms River and 1 in Jackson. We also have 3 Cosmetology classes offered in the evenings. Electric classes are offered both in Jackson and in Toms River. Construction classes are offered in Brick and in Waretown. Automotive classes are held in Jackson, Brick and in Waretown. Welding in Toms River has a waiting list that can never be satisfied. This is a highly sought program which will be expanded once our addition to the Jackson Center is finished.

OCVTS has made huge strides in expanding our General and Craft Advisory meetings and membership as the need for their input and expertise has never been more important. Local/community focus and source for money to improve instruction and outcomes places high value on the importance of the commitment of members of the industry. We continue to outreach to new members in an economy that is looking for employees with skills and knowledge in chosen fields of expertise. As these partnerships developed, many provided the district with donations, internship opportunities, and employment. Their commitment to our programs and students is evident as they attend the advisory meetings and suggest ways that they could help support us. Members of these committees read and reviewed our curriculum (as it pertained to their expertise) and offered suggestions for credentials and hands-on learning experiences. There are many concerns by our industry partners on an aging out workforce.

Last year, the district hired a new Employment and Industry Development Coordinator to help support this initiative of bringing industry to our centers. With this new vision, our outreach has already expanded. It has been my experience that once we bring local industry into our classrooms, they are hooked on the untapped source of future employees. Our industry valued equipment, top-notch instructors and students that are eager to learn and begin their journeys into the workforce are breaths of fresh air to those companies that are concerned about an aging out workforce. We continue to offer opportunities that will inform the community on the benefits of vocational education.

Once again, the district will be participating in our annual Career Fair, Open House event and a Career Expo. Bringing industry and students together at these events provide the students with opportunities to explore and experience the various industry prospects available in our community. Last year, our Career Expo explored the Construction Trades. This year, we are again hosting another Construction Expo at BlueClaws in May. It has increased in size and interest as there are over 40 businesses in attendance. This year, the Medical Industry will present their own exposition on employment opportunities in the medical fields. Career fairs will be held at Elms Elementary School, Jackson Liberty High School, Jackson Memorial High School and McAuliffe Middle School to keep middle/high school students informed about the viable choices during high school and after graduation. Last year at the Toms River Center, we hosted a Veterans Outreach Program. Veterans and their families had the opportunity to meet with many employers, local businesses, unions and the OCVTS welding and electrical instructors to provide information and direction on potential training leading to employment. This was another community outreach for the district.

OCVTS is also known for their academies: Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (otherwise known as MATES), The Grunin Performing Arts Academy (otherwise know as GPAA) and the Academy of Law and Public Safety (otherwise known as ALPS). The three academies require an application, academic testing, auditions and/or interviews. All three academies are competitive, selective and have a focus or theme that is followed throughout the 4-year high school experience.

Scroll to Top